Dubai: Indian-owned pharmaceutical and biomed companies from the UAE and India met on Sunday at the Consulate General of India in Dubai to discuss how to enhance trade in their sector between the two countries.
Sanjay Verma, Consul General of India, said the meeting wasa unique preliminary effort to enhance partnership between companies operating in India and the UAE.
Despite trade relations worth $75 billion year, Verma said the pharmaceutical sector had not appeared on the bilateral agenda as it should have.
He said that exports account for 50 per cent of India’s $30 billion a year pharmaceutical industry with India exporting to most countries, including the United States.
On the other hand, the UAE pharmaceutical and biomed sector has grown to nearly $5 billion annually, Marwan Abdul Aziz, Executive Director at DuBiotech, said.
He said that despite strong growth in the sector including 40 per cent growth in companies operating out of DuBiotech , Dubai’s life sciences cluster, between 2011 and 2012 more than 80 per cent of medicine used in the UAE was imported. Verma said that the UAE market deserved further attention and would act as a gateway to the Middle East and African market for Indian companies.
The UAE market is valued at close to $5 billion annually and the Saudi Arabian market is valued at $8 billion a year, Abdul Aziz said.
Abdul Aziz, who hopes Sunday’s meeting will attract more Indian pharmaceuticals and biomed companies to the UAE and DuBiotech, said that the heavy reliance on medicine imports was a burden for the UAE.
“The market has a lot of potential and there are a lot of gaps to fill,” Abdul Aziz said.
Verma said the meeting was not a branding exercise for Indian-based companies because of their quality products. He said that Indian companies could provide more cost-effective options to consumers in the UAE.
However, Abdul Aziz said Indian companies should not just be looked upon as a cheap alternative to existing products.
He said Indian companies and scientists could make significant contributions to research and development in the UAE sector.
Verma said Sunday’s meeting gave Indian companies – local and Indian based – an opportunity to exchange ideas and put forward concerns they wanted within the UAE pharmaceutical sector.
He said it was clear that DuBiotech wanted to take on more Indian players.
Abdul Aziz said that India was an important country for pharmaceuticals, particularly generics. “We have always identified India as an important market,” Abdul Aziz said.
Verma and Abdul Aziz both said the depreciating rupee would not negatively impact the Indian sector.