Market Access Landscape in the Middle East:The Next Five Years

The market access landscape in the Middle East is changing rapidly. The growth of private health insurance markets in the Gulf is a significant catalyst for the re-organisation of private sector stakeholders and improvements in internal reimbursement policies. In the past, Payors were relatively generous in their reimbursement of new technologies, but in the next five years, price sensitivity and value-based reimbursement will grow in importance. Data availability, the formalised use of pharmacoeconomics, stronger partnerships between private sector stakeholders, and better public-private partnerships will determine access to medicines in the Middle-East.

Systematized and accurate data are needed to improve decision-making especially on the costs, resource use, and patient outcomes in private and public health facilities. These variables are inputs for undertaking epidemiological studies, pharmacoeconomic analyses, and budget impact evaluations for new technologies entering the market. Data that integrates patient services in public and private facilities, inpatient and outpatient treatment, and local versus regional care networks are essential for facilitating better budgeting and allocation of funds to reimburse new technologies.

The formalised use of pharmacoeconomics in the Region will enable the application of best available scientific methods to evaluate the economic impact of new technologies. Pharmacoeconomics Guidelines will help improve the general understanding of economic evaluation methods, and it will boost stakeholder confidence in how pharmacoeconomic results improve decision-making. The application of pharmacoeconomics includes value-based pricing decisions, development of formularies by private health insurance companies, and guiding reimbursement policies set by public payors including the Ministry of Health, Military Institutions, Hospitals and Specialist Treatment Centres.

Stronger partnerships between private sector stakeholders and better public-private partnerships will improve patient outcomes. Healthcare markets are complex structures with equally complex processes that aim to improve patient lives. Numerous examples are already available on how Ministries of Health, Health Authorities and private sector stakeholders actively collaborate but it is unclear whether these partnerships result in better outcomes for patients. Future efforts include transparency in the nature of these partnerships and how patient outcomes are monitored and improved between public and private sector stakeholders and among private sector participants. Reducing duplicative partnerships that result in wasteful expenditure on activities that do not improve the efficiency of healthcare markets is a priority.

The rapid change of healthcare markets in the Middle East means stakeholders need the right tools to improve access to new technologies. This change will result in exciting opportunities for many companies, but it will require science-based analysis of available data, implementation of pharmacoeconomic evaluations for reimbursement, and better partnerships between stakeholders. 

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