Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The government has set goals of improving infrastructure and modernizing technology.

As part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to diversify the country’s economic activity and reduce its dependence on oil for a more sustainable economic growth, health care and life sciences are among the pillars of development. The Saudi government is keen to elevate the level of health services by developing better infrastructure and use of modern technology, setting a $46 billion budget for health and social development.

Saudi Arabia is focused on boosting its domestic production in the pharmaceutical sector from 20% at the beginning of 2019 to 40% by the end of 2020. The government is also focused on investing and building facilities to grow its pharmaceutical sector. According to a survey by Alpen Capital, Saudi Arabia’s biotech industry has reached a valuation of almost $45 billion. Furthermore, the survey also suggested that health expenditures in Saudi Arabia are expected to increase at a rate of 6.1% annually, from $44.3 billion in 2017 to $59.5 billion in 2022. The government has identified several areas where they aim to localize production, such as tools and trauma repair devices, diabetes monitoring, drug delivery systems, disposable hospital supplies, chemical reagents, wound care consumables, dialysis consumables, sterile injectables, vaccines and biologics/biosimilar plasma products.

The World Bank estimates that Saudi Arabia’s population will rise from 32.6 million in 2018 to 45.1 million in 2050; therefore, the demand for health care services is expected to grow rapidly. Diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer are on the rise, increasing demand and pressure on Saudi Arabia’s health care sector.

Currently, Saudi Arabia accounts for 59.4% of pharmaceutical purchases in the Gulf region. Saudi Arabia’s government has approved the sector for 100% foreign direct investment (FDI), encouraging more companies to embark on projects. The Saudi Arabian medical device market currently relies heavily on imports, with more than 92% of the devices imported from the U.S. and Europe.