With 4,000 stands, Arab Health is enormous. Unlike most medtech shows, hospital groups take stands and we were able to go around 40 at the show. So what did it it tell us?
The UAE is in the midst of a huge boom as mandatory insurance is introduced in Dubai, following Abu Dhabi. The top end market for well paid ex-pats is in danger of saturation but few players are targeting the millions of blue collar and clerical workers with affordable offering. There is a danger that growth may be lower than expected. One operator pointed out that demand in year one for new holders of PMI is often much higher than in future years. An adviser warned that the government and insurers may also crack down on unscrupulous operators who sometimes carry out unnecessary tests to max out policies.
Operators now have their eyes on Saudi Arabia which is about to hand the delivery of health care services to the private sector creating a huge new market. Mandatory PMI for ex-pats would also create a big new market there.
And who are the beneficiaries? They are almost entirely operations run by Indian entrepreneurs, many of which are busy building hospitals back in India to treat patients from the Gulf at less than half the price. Their verve is impressive and we were really impressed by the quality of management on stands like Aster DM, VPS and Abreer. They are certainly adventurous. VPS plans a hospital in London and two in Glasgow! We will bring you more on Arab Health over the next two weeks. If you do not already subscribe, why not do so and get full access to everything we write? To arrange a demo just click here.