Irish healthcare firms target Middle East

Ireland is now the second-largest exporter of medtech products in Europe.

More than 200 meetings between Irish healthcare companies and buyers in the Middle East were brokered by Enterprise Ireland last week.

More than 20 Irish companies took part in the Arab Health exhibition in Dubai.

“A lot of eyes are on Irish innovators, some of whom have already come up with exciting solutions”

These included enterprises such as Aerogen, AceTech, Fleming Medical, CF Pharma Ireland Ltd, HealthSectorTalent, and HiberGene Diagnostics Ltd.

The Irish medtech industry exports over €13bn to over 100 countries every year, positioning Ireland as the second-largest exporter of medtech products in Europe.

Gulf region is a major growth market for Ireland, exports to United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in 2020 grew by 12% and 6% respectively. In 2020, Irish exports to both markets continued to grow, even against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a combined market value of close to €320m.

Med in Ireland

Several Irish companies supported by Enterprise Ireland are already enjoying much success in the region. With a presence in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, Irish company AceTech has built up business in the region worth €10m, working in the areas of safety, patient care and AI software for several ambulance services in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and cities.

Galway-based company Aerogen, a leader in aerosol medication delivery systems, opened an office in Dubai in 2018 and has grown business significantly in the region since the start of the pandemic. Most recently, the company announced a major deal with Gulf Medical, a market leader in medical device distribution in Saudi Arabia.

Fleming Medical began operating in the region in 2014, and currently service over 1,800 retail stores in several GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman. This year, the company plans to expand operations into Iraq and North Africa, growing business by 25% by the end of 2023.

With an increase of over 40% in Irish companies participating at the Arab Health exhibition this year compared to 2020, it demonstrates strong progress in the momentum in the region being achieved as part of the reinvigorated strategy by Enterprise Ireland to increase Irish healthcare exports to the UAE and wider region.

“Irish medtech companies proved how agile and flexible they are during the pandemic,” said Deirdre Glenn, director of Life Sciences at Enterprise Ireland.

“Our focus has now turned to the post-Covid world, and how the pandemic has changed healthcare, both in terms of how we access it and in terms of how it is delivered. A lot of eyes are on Irish innovators, some of whom have already come up with exciting solutions.”

“Ireland has long been a leader in the medtech world. Our success is down to a combination of track record and forward thinking and a deep pool of experience and highly trained talent. This is boosted by a fertile ecosystem that integrates industry, research and the clinical community to promote high-quality innovation.”

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.

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