Fitch Solutions said Kuwait is expected to speed up imports of medicines to ensure availability on regular basis, saying the country’s pharmaceutical market depends largely on imports and the Ministry of Health has recently increased its imports of medicines and necessary medical supplies due to shortage which the country recently encountered.

A local Arabic daily quoting a report by Fitch said cancer drugs constitute the most prominent category of products that Kuwait intends to import, as several local reports recently revealed treatment delays of up to two months, forcing many patients to travel to neighboring countries to receive treatment.

The report stated that the Ministry of Health obtained, earlier this month, approvals to spend 6.6 million dinars on medicines for cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases, as these imports constitute part of health care investments by the ministry in the wake of the outbreak of the Corona pandemic.

The agency’s report expected an increase in medicine imports to Kuwait until 2026 at an annual rate of 3.6% in the local currency, to reach about 597 million dinars ($1.8 billion), knowing that economic coordination between the Gulf countries may enhance the local production of medicines, but not in a way that meets the increasing demand until 2026.

However, a combination of geopolitical factors and reasons related to the pharmaceutical industries will continue to constitute an obstacle to the strong growth of the pharmaceutical sector in Kuwait, although our expectations show that spending on medicines in the country may achieve a moderate annual growth rate of 3.6% over the next 10 years.

Fitch Solutions suggested that the pharmaceutical market will continue to be in turmoil in Kuwait due to geopolitical variables and variables related to the industry itself, explaining that most companies seeking to import and export medicines will face different challenges.

The agency went on to say, the export of goods from Kuwait abroad takes a long time and is financially costly due to strict border procedures, and the geographical location of Kuwait contributes to the difficulty of supply chains reaching global shipping lines. In addition, to the high levels of corruption in the country increase the operating costs and legal risks for many companies that intend to establish commercial lines with Kuwait.

The Fitch Solutions report confirmed that the pharmaceutical industry in Kuwait faces several regulatory and bureaucratic obstacles, delays in payments, as well as regulatory changes related to pharmacies, noting cases of mismanagement and corruption in the sector, including inappropriate storage of medicines and expired and damaged products.

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