Healthcare provision needs continue to grow in the MEA region, leading governments to look to do more with less

FrontierView’s fundamental assumptions and key actions for planning 2024 strategies

Multinationals in the healthcare sector have a complex MEA region to plan for in 2024. Many governments are engaging in healthcare reform plans, and demand for healthcare services continues to increase, but fiscal consolidation remains a priority across the region. The pace of privatization lags expectations, yet the region includes some of the top performers globally, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Government stakeholders keep changing, and out-of-pocket spending is under pressure. Meanwhile, expectations for multinationals to grow are high for 2024.

As executives confirm plans for 2024 across their MEA portfolio, they can use our brief set of top assumptions to align their organizations internally.

Executives will also need to monitor financial risk next year—use our MEA FX and Inflation Trackers for the latest data and forecasts in the region.

Suggested Actions to Take for Multinationals in the Region

  • Strategic Planning:
    • Segment the region based on the reimbursement outlook, funding conditions, and regulatory environment, and develop tailored strategies to optimize resource allocation.
    • Identify local patient advocacy groups, medical societies, and NGOs to engage with in 2024 to support patient access to your innovative healthcare solutions in markets with a weaker reimbursement outlook (such as Egypt and Kenya).
    • Ensure your preparations for Saudi Arabia’s RHQ regulation are in line with government expectations, and communicate the necessary cost and localization implications to your HQ.
  • Product Portfolio:
    • Work closely with regulatory agencies in countries with strong reimbursement outlooks (such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE) to expedite the marketing authorization processes and optimize product launches.
    • Identify existing products in your portfolio that align well with the immediate needs of countries like Algeria that have strong reimbursement but challenging regulatory timelines.
    • Prioritize products in key therapy areas that align with ongoing healthcare initiatives in countries such as Egypt where the funding outlook is more challenging.
  • Government Engagement:
    • Propose partnerships that align with healthcare authorities’ objectives, such as contributing to disease awareness campaigns or providing training for HCPs.
    • Prepare economic analyses and real-world evidence showcasing the long-term benefits of your healthcare solutions, including potential cost savings to the healthcare system as pricing pressures protract across the region.
  • Talent Management:
    • Invest in and upskill your government affairs teams, as stakeholder engagement remains critical to ensuring your therapy areas remain a public policy priority in the region.
    • Encourage cross-functional collaboration within your organization to share insights and experiences from different markets, particularly in understanding approaches to innovative business models.
  • Cost Strategy:
    • Focus on more conscious, itemized collection and internal (HQ) and external communication of costs.
    • Evaluate new locations for new hiring where possible; consider flexible, work-from-home roles or employment in Egypt, Jordan, and Turkiye. Assume higher talent costs for new hires in Saudi Arabia.
    • Prioritize talent retention in cost allocation.
    • Consider longer contracts with service providers, rents, and others to prevent major cost volatility.
    • Hold local supplies more efficiently (vs. 2022) to reduce storage and logistics costs.
    • Evaluate localization investments in top markets, but remain cautious about boosting local investments to reduce costs, as shipping costs have come down.
  • Channel Management:
    • Ensure your distributors are fully equipped on not only product training but also on any supporting materials related to value-based reimbursement and outcome-based payments in order to ease their communication with key decision makers. 
    • As distributors’ margins continue to be put under pressure in many MEA markets in 2024, many will choose to operate conservatively in order to limit OPEX growth. Train partners on enhancing efficiency in cash-conversion cycles and preventing any cost cutting to impact product quality or HCP visits.
    • Enhance your distributors’ insight collection to better devise strategies as price sensitivity among patients and healthcare providers protracts, and as government priorities shift amid healthcare reform progress. Aligning with partners on what to monitor from customer, patient, and stakeholder perspectives will increase your ability to track changing market conditions more effectively.
    • Update your distributor evaluation mechanism by using a scorecard that includes factors beyond distributors’ commercial performance in order to address compliance issues.

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