New mandatory health insurance system introduced in Qatar
One of the largest and most prominent healthcare events in the Middle East is set to soon take place at Dubai World Trade Centre, in the United Arab Emirates (the UAE). From 29 January to 1 February 2024, Arab Health 2024 will continue its legacy of fostering innovation, collaboration and advancements in the healthcare industry.
The event will feature a comprehensive range of healthcare related exhibitions, conferences and workshops, focusing on the latest trends, breakthroughs and solutions in the region’s healthcare landscape. This year, Arab Health promises to be bolder and broader than ever before, providing significant opportunities for networking, learning and collaboration within the healthcare sector.
Driven by factors such as demographic shifts, technological advancements and a growing focus on quality healthcare services, the healthcare landscape in the Middle East is undergoing significant transformations. As this sector continues to evolve, Arab Health 2024 promises to be a pivotal event that propels the region's healthcare ecosystem to new heights.
Clyde & Co, with its extensive expertise and presence in the region, is well positioned to assist healthcare investors, professionals, institutions and stakeholders in navigating the complex legal intricacies that may arise when entering or operating in the evolving legal landscape of the healthcare sector in the Middle East. This briefing paper provides a high-level overview of some of the related trends, opportunities and challenges and how Clyde & Co is ideally positioned to assist clients in unlocking such opportunities and overcoming the relevant challenges.
The Middle East is witnessing a surge in investment in health-tech, with a focus on telemedicine, artificial intelligence (AI) driven diagnostics and digital health solutions. The adoption of telemedicine solutions is rapidly growing, driven by increased connectivity and a desire for accessible healthcare services. Remote consultations, digital health monitoring, telehealth platforms and AI powered personalised healthcare solutions are becoming integral to the healthcare ecosystem in the Middle East.
As the population continues to increase and more people seek medical treatment due to the rise in lifestyle diseases, spending in private and public hospitals in the Middle East has increased significantly. Targeted investment in healthcare has always been a top priority for most GCC governments. With capital expenditures from these governments set for further growth, attractive investment opportunities are present and, in line with the M&A trends that we have seen, private and public investors are ecapitalising on this growth.
A key focus of the UAE’s healthcare strategy is longevity and healthy aging. As people are living longer and the population of the UAE gets older, the UAE is prioritising the health and well-being of its future society. Significant emphasis is being placed on developing policies and having conversations around healthy aging and prevention of elderly diseases. Innovation in healthcare, which is focused on establishing and investing in longevity clinics and associated technologies, is being encouraged. As a consequence, home healthcare / in-home care, is also becoming a priority. We expect to see and hear much around longevity at Arab Health 2024
East continues to be a medical tourism destination providing a broad spectrum of world-class facilities which are attracting patients from across the globe. Rising healthcare costs in western countries and the Middle East's lack of insurance coverage for certain procedures means that people are willing to travel abroad to seek care and access facilitates that are not available in their home country. As more people visit the Middle East for treatments and procedures, investment opportunities in the healthcare space shall continue to grow.
Governments in the Middle East are actively promoting collaboration between the public and private sectors to enhance healthcare infrastructure and services. This involves the construction of state-of-the-art hospitals, clinics and medical research facilities to meet the rising demand for quality healthcare services.
Diverse regulatory frameworks across the Middle East pose challenges for market entry and compliance. There are a number of options for incorporating a company in the Middle East and companies operating in the healthcare space will often be required to obtain regulatory approvals from the competent licencing authorities. In the UAE, the Ministry of Health and Prevention operates at a federal level and local health authorities cover different Emirates, such as the Dubai Health Authority, the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi and the Sharjah Health Authority. Each authority has its own regulatory framework and therefore, for those operating in the UAE healthcare sector, understanding and operating within the laws is essential. Other countries in the Middle East have similar regulatory frameworks for compliance in place.
Adapting to and implementing new legal frameworks while maintaining operational efficiency is a challenge that demands legal expertise and strategic planning. Harmonising compliance efforts and adapting to diverse legal requirements becomes crucial to navigating the nuanced regulatory environment in the Middle East.
The evolving landscape of data privacy and security regulations poses a significant challenge to healthcare providers. With an increasing focus on protecting patient information, complying with new data privacy laws is imperative. Ensuring the secure handling, storage and sharing of healthcare data becomes paramount, necessitating comprehensive strategies for compliance.
The demand for skilled healthcare professionals outpaces supply, creating workforce challenges. There have been strategies implemented for attracting and retaining healthcare professionals in the region, including competitive compensation packages and more attractive visa options such as the golden visa.
Clyde & Co has one of the most active healthcare practices in the Middle East, with significant capabilities covering a wide range of legal services within the sector. As one of the region's few genuine full-service law firms, our combination of skills, expertise, experience and network of connections allow us to act as a 'one-stop-shop' for healthcare clients for all of their legal needs in the Middle East. Having been based in the United Arab Emirates for over 25 years, we are well versed in the nuances of local laws and regulations as well as the actual application (or non-application) of those laws and regulations by the authorities.
Our healthcare clients include private equity firms specialising in healthcare investments, hospital owners and operators, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, life sciences organisations, healthcare suppliers and distributors, health ministries, regulators and professional registration boards, just to mention a few.
Our team specialises in providing healthcare investors and other stakeholders operating in the market with full service legal support for the lifespan of an investment. Our team is well placed to provide structuring and FDI advice and we are experts in advising on healthcare M&A, joint-ventures, restructurings, investments and a range of other transactional matters. Our offering, as a full-service law firm, means that following completion of your transaction, we are ready and equipped to provide you with legal support on a range of integration and transitional matters to help protect the business in which you have invested.