Insight from life science consultant and thought leader Pharma Global Consulting
– supporting Sweden’s export strategy with market-entry strategies for companies in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The Swedish life science sector is seeing fresh growth and, with local government’s export drive, many life science companies are looking to the Middle East for new business opportunities however the route to market can be complex. Swedish life science business consultant Global Pharma Consulting uses its vast local knowledge and skills to eliminate the pain points and ensure a quicker entry for clients.
Global Pharma Consulting’s team has a clear understanding of the business landscape and needs of this market, and has developed a comprehensive turn-key business offering that is unparalleled in Sweden.
“We’re unique in as much as we have solutions and support for the entire spectrum of services required by the typical life science company operating in the MENA region. We know what it takes to do business in this territory both from a regulatory and cultural point of view, and our team is made up of skilled professionals who have worked with some of the sector’s biggest global brands. Combine all this and you have a solid platform for successful and rapid market entry, sometimes even faster than starting operations in our own Nordic countries!” says Paula Hassoon, CEO at Global Pharma Consulting.
“The region has extensive medical and infrastructural requirements and a high demand for professional management of hospitals. Our clients are mostly interested in the Gulf States as they have substantial financial resources to cover healthcare costs however; MENA is a big region with several interesting markets. An extensive benchmarking and research exercise, and a solid understanding of local legislation is the best starting point. From there, the most suitable point of entry quickly emerges,” Hassoon advises.
Sweden and even Scandinavia are recognised for leading innovation and Sweden’s healthcare system is often considered one of the best in the world. Swedish health products are favoured for their simplicity and pricing advantage compared to the more complicated and costly medtech products from other countries/regions. Another interesting aspect is the world-famous Swedish know-how in the quality register area, especially for the challenges areas such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Many countries in the MENA-region are starting to discuss how to introduce this valuable tool to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes.
“Registering a CE-marked Medtech Class II product usually takes six to eight months in Saudi Arabia, just to give an example. During that period, we search for a local partner, and we oversee every element of the market entry strategy based on a needs assessment, from elements such as price analyses and research, export processes, logistics, product registrations, local networking and introductions, to translation services and cultural advice. On average, the entire process can take eight to 12 months, from the start of the strategy to the client’s first order in the new country.”
“If you're going to work with a distributor, invest some time in finding one that matches your expectations and fits your values. It goes without saying that background checks are critical. Never let a distributor select you – you should be the one selecting a distributor in line with your needs and requirements!”
According to Hassoon, the obstacles to entering a new territory often results in lost opportunities when the process becomes too drawn out or frustrating and the MENA-region expansion plans are dropped. This doesn’t just affect the individual company but Swedish exports and other areas of the local economy are impacted.
As a Swedish business, Global Pharma Consulting are members and also works closely with the Swecare Foundation, a semi-governmental non-profit organization where academia, public and private sector join forces on enhanced export and internationalization of Swedish health care.
“We have a clear understanding of what Sweden is trying to achieve and we fully support the focus on export strategies aimed at emerging economies. The mandate to support enterprises offering high quality and affordable life science products and services, especially those with a strong focus on innovation, is presenting some really exciting opportunities right now. Life science companies can make a real difference to the MENA countries’ health care infrastructure and the implementation of international best practice and standards for patient care,” says Hassoon.
As part of Global Pharma Consulting’s own communications strategy in the MENA region, in late January the company will be active at the Arab Health Congress and Exhibition, the key international networking event on the region’s calendar.
“We didn’t want to be just another exhibitor, we wanted to go bigger and give our clients’ region a greater visibility. After months of preparation and with high level support from Swedish government, Global Pharma Consulting will be the only independent consultancy to host its own pavilion focusing on life science from a single region. So, at Arab Health this year, 16 Swedish companies and representatives from the Swedish Ministry of Health and Swecare Foundation will join us in Global Pharma Consulting’s Anglo Nordic Pavilion. We couldn’t be more excited to be showcasing some of Sweden’s top life science innovators!”
Watch out for more international life science networking events hosted by Global Pharma Consulting in 2017.