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Healthcare Resource Guide: Bahrain

 

Bahrain Statistics

Summary

Market Entry

Main Competitors

Current Demand

Registration Process

Trade Events

CS Contacts

 

Capital: Manama

Population: 1.3 million (2014)

GDP*: 33.9 billion (2014)

Currency: Bahraini Dinar

Language: Arabic

Summary

Bahrain has a modern and comprehensive healthcare system with a robust healthcare infrastructure, including four state-sponsored hospitals, sixteen private institutions and a large number of clinics and maternity hospitals. Bahrain’s Ministry of Health has excellent laboratory facilities and staff.

Many Bahraini doctors have studied aboard and returned home to practice. Other doctors are trained at one of Bahrain’s three medical universities: Arabian Gulf University, the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and the College of Health Science.

The healthcare sector is a priority sector for the Government of Bahrain (GOB). The GOB’s expenditures on healthcare products, medicines, and medical machines were forecast to reach $137.9 million in 2015, and $the GOB planned to spend $18.5 million on health-related infrastructure development projects.

The Ministry of Health's budget for the year 2015 was 334 million Bahraini Dinars ($884 million) and for 2016 the GOB planned to spend 335 million Bahraini Dinars ($887 million) on health-related expenditures.

The GOB also has announced a 2015-2018 strategy to develop the healthcare sector, addressing the increase in healthcare demand and ensuring a sustainable outlook for the future.

Market Entry

Bahrain permits one hundred percent foreign ownership of businesses within the Kingdom. Although not required by law, we advise U.S. companies to designate a local agent/representative to conduct business in Bahrain. We also advise companies to retain local legal counsel when drawing up contractual agreements, establishing a presence in the country, and/or bidding on government tenders. Due to the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the GOB does not charge any customs duty on U.S.-manufactured items.

The public sector dominates the supply of health care services in Bahrain and accounts for the majority of health care expenditures. All Bahrainis receive free state-funded healthcare while most companies offer their expatriate workers healthcare coverage, either through insurance companies or through arrangements with one or more local private hospitals. There are plans to introduce a comprehensive “social health insurance” program for all Bahraini nationals after a compulsory health insurance system for all expatriates was implemented in 2015; the social health insurance program would be funded by a fee paid by private sector employers to the LMRA.

The National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) monitors and regulates healthcare professionals, healthcare facilities and equipment and healthcare medicines and drugs. The Bahraini pharmaceutical market is highly dependent on imported drugs.

Main Competitors

The Bahraini market is completely dependent on imports for medical devices and pharmaceuticals. U.S. companies are present, but European and Asian suppliers are aggressively gaining a hold on market share with their close proximity to the market and competitive prices.

Current Demand

Best Prospects

  • Pharmaceutical industry, drug packaging and distribution
  • Complementary health services
  • Health support services and health resorts
  • Health education and training
  • Medical research centers
  • Information technology (E-health program)
  • Biotechnology

Registration Process

The NHRA monitors and regulates healthcare professionals, healthcare facilities and equipment and healthcare medicines and drugs. The Bahraini pharmaceutical market is highly dependent on imported drugs. The registration process for pharmaceutical products takes six months. Products that are centrally registered in the GCC office are accepted as fully registered in Bahrain. Products with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Canada, EMA, Swiss-medic, Kuwait, Oman Saudi Arabia or UAE approval are granted temporary permission and one year to fully register the product in Bahrain.

Barriers

Despite the entry into force of the U.S.-Bahrain FTA, difficulties remain for duty-free access of select goods. Customs authorities occasionally attempt to collect custom duties on some items, and there have been reports that goods which are not individually labeled “Made in the USA” did not receive the preferential treatment they should have been accorded under the FTA.

Trade Events

No medical or healthcare events are scheduled for 2017. Most Bahraini companies attend Arab Health, which is held in Dubai, UAE, and other shows held in Germany and the United States.

Local Associations:

Bahrain Medical Society (www.bhmedsoc.org)

Government Links:

Ministry of Health (www.moh.gov.bh)

Bahrain Tender Board (www.tenderboard.gov.bh)

U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information

Name: Myrna AlMehaiza

Position: Commercial Assistant

Email: almehaizam@state.gov

Phone: +973 17-242-746


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