Pharmaceutical Industry in the UAE sees Robust Growth Ahead

by Zaara 14, Feb 2020

There has been tremendous growth in the global and the UAE pharmaceutical market as growing demand has been complemented by scientific advances leading to product innovation with newer and potentially more useful medicines. This demand and supply-side growth in the overall market has been accompanying by the development of niche markets which are estimated to have experienced comparatively faster growth.

In the year 2018, the sales in the pharmaceutical market in the UAE are estimated to be valued at around $3.1 billion. The market size is expected to have improved from around $2.4 billion in 2015. The majority, around 86 per cent of total pharmaceutical sales in 2018, where sales of prescription medicines. The UAE is estimated to have traded around Dh14.9 billion worth of products as part of pharmaceutical foodstuffs (HS 30) from the world market in 2018, according to data from the UAE Federal Customs Authority. Primary sources of imports in 2018 included Germany, USA, France and Switzerland. UAE business is also projected to have exported around Dh1.2 billion and re-exported around Dh3.8 billion worth of produces in pharmaceutical products (HS 30) to the global market in 2018. Key export markets include Saudi Arabia and Iraq while main re-export markets in 2018 included Iraq, Kuwait, and Bahrain, according to data from the UAE Federal Customs Authority.

Niche markets such as the development of orphan medicine, mHealth, and halal pharmaceuticals could provide potential possibilities across the value chain of pharmacies. While there are many companies in the Emirates that might be specialized in developing these types of drugs, other companies might also profit from local distribution and sales of freshly prepared drugs on the UAE market.

Starting a Pharmacy Business in the UAE

The healthcare sector in the UAE is no longer on the waiting list. As you have read above the healthcare sector has been drastically expanding. Moreover, it is expected to grow by 73.52 billion AED by 2020. However, before setting up a pharmacy business in the UAE, you need to take care of a few essentials. Here’s the list-

  • Location
  • Competitors in the market
  • Local sponsor to avail license
  • Layout and structure plan of the pharmacy

The process to set up a pharma business is simple and straight-forward. They are as follows-

  1. Register your business and get the license from the Dubai Health Authority (DHA)
  2. Apply to the Health Regulation Department
  3. Get a Certified Pharmacist Manager
  4. Register with the Municipality and Regional Health Authority

Once you finish the entire procedure of registration, you are eligible enough to open a pharmacy business in the UAE.


Concrete variables such as rising population and earnings have resulted in enhanced demand in the UAE and around the globe for pharmaceutical products. On the supply side, scientific progress has also resulted in the development of drugs for the treatment of new diseases.

We at Commitbiz can help you set up a business in the UAE. Our business setup consultants have years of experience in this field and can make the process hassle-free. Contact us today to know more.


What type of license is required to set up a pharmaceutical industry in the UAE?

Health authority pharmacy license

How much does it cost for setting up a pharma industry in UAE?

The cost of starting a pharmacy varies depending on the location, inventory, and employees. To open a pharmacy, you'll require between AED 450,000 and AED 700,000.

What is the expected growth of the UAE pharmaceutical market by 2030?

According to the world bank projections, the pharmaceutical market in UAE will reach almost 11.1 million by 2030.

Why there is a rapid growth in the UAE's pharmaceutical industry?

The UAE pharmaceutical industry is fast growing to satisfy the changing requirements of a constantly rising population.

What are the dedicated pharmaceutical free zones in UAE?

The dedicated pharmaceutical free zones in Dubai are

  • Healthcare City
  • Jebel Ali Free Zone
  • Dubai Science Park