TBY talks to, Dharar Abdullah Al Dakhil, Chairman of YIACO, on its leading role in the country's healthcare sector and the outlook for investment patterns in the market.

Dharar Abdullah Al Dakhil

How do you view YIACO's contribution to the healthcare industry in Kuwait and the region today?

Since beginning operations in the 1950s as one of the first pharmaceutical companies in the entire region, YIACO today has achieved a strong market share and product diversification that is vast compared to other companies in the sector. Our product portfolio covers a wide range of pharmaceutical brands and medical equipment with partners and principles such as Pfizer, Sanofi, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. We play a major role in Kuwait's healthcare sector by supplying both retail and wholesale distribution to the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defense, and to the private sector as well. We have the knowledge and the infrastructure necessary to continue meeting international standards, often achieving an even higher level than those required through our quality assurance programs and by applying international best practices. We continuously hold seminars and educational gatherings between doctors and industry professionals to ensure international best practices. These programs are aligned with our international principles to follow suit in worldwide trends and healthcare improvements.

What is YIACO's role in supporting large government projects and the national needs of Kuwait's healthcare sector?

YIACO has continuously supported the government in its projects from the very beginning, since Kuwait's healthcare sector is reliant on public health. We offer pharmaceuticals through our wholesale division by providing a full range of medication along with medical equipment for the government's needs. We also were part of the first governmental BOT project to build and operate Adan hospital's radiology, nuclear medicine, and laboratory as a fully operational medical center. We have managed this governmental project for the past 10 years offering medical services to patients who reside in that area of Kuwait. We are also part of governmental initiatives to introduce medication and services to those suffering from diseases such as diabetes. We also liaise between ministry officials and our partners and principles to streamline and align both parties for the benefit of better services and products in the healthcare sector. These initiatives with the government are all aligned with the compliance and quality standards and solidify YIACO as a leading influencer in the industry.

What trends are you seeing in Kuwait in terms of healthcare sector demand today and moving forward?

We are unfortunately seeing a lot of demand in the blood pressure, cardiac, and diabetic segments. These are currently the segments with the most focus and urgency in Kuwait. We rely on our principals to ensure that we have everything necessary to meet these needs. Looking to the future, we make sure that we are communicating further market needs to our principals when it comes to medical R&D and innovation; we work alongside our principles to pursue products and services worldwide rather than just in Kuwait, which allows us to look beyond what is only available here. What we are seeing is that as the population continues to grow, the focus in the healthcare field will increasingly shift toward the elderly. YIACO is aware of this shift in the healthcare sector needs and along with our partners and the MOH we will be focusing on these needs. As part of this initiative we are looking into homecare and nursing care to expand in Kuwait. The Ministry is looking to put together health insurance for the elderly and we are working with it to ensure that we comply with that when the time comes.

What areas would you highlight as opportunities for further investment in Kuwait's healthcare sector?

There is a crucial need for building and expanding hospitals in Kuwait. With government support, investors can do a lot to close the capacity gaps remaining in our healthcare facility infrastructure. Notably, the Jaber Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah Hospital, the largest in Kuwait, is going to be delivered in 2016. With this new project serving the population, the healthcare companies will be able to participate and get more involved in investing toward Kuwait's healthcare sector.