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Innovation and inspiration in Dubai: Arab Health 2024

Lara Tosoni and Meinrad Reiterer at Arab Health 2024

At the end of January, Lara Tosoni (CRO) and Meinrad Reiterer (CEO) headed to Dubai to attend Arab Health for the first time. It’s the biggest and most important healthcare conference and trade fair in the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region, a fact which quickly became clear: there were over 3,400 exhibitors from 180 countries in Dubai, attracting around 100,000 visitors. Read on to find out what MEINRAD learned about the future of the life sciences industry from our visit to Arab Health!

UAE, USA and Germany – key future markets

We were impressed by the wide range of exhibitors: as well as some familiar faces like our client BHS Technologies, we met a number of exciting Austrian businesses who were represented at the ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA stand, including Probando, sway Sports & Health and SOT Medical Systems. We enjoyed a dinner with the Austrian community and the Austrian cluster associations, where we shared our experiences and discussed how Arab Health is a global platform for showcasing the latest developments in the life sciences industry. The United Arab Emirates was a clever choice of venue for the event, as it brought together the innovative markets which will shape the future of medical technology. Many of the exhibitors had their products on display so that visitors could see their capabilities for themselves, and there were plenty of national pavilions – as there were at MEDICA 2023. Germany was particularly strongly represented, which was little surprise given that it had an export share of 67% in 20221 and is therefore a key driver of progress in the medical sector. Arab Health confirmed the impression that Germany will remain a global market leader in medical technology – in fact, sales in the medical market in Germany are expected to grow by an average of 4.36% a year, with a predicted market volume of €42 billion by 2028.2 But the US market is also on course for major growth, and in 2024 it will dominate the global market with sales of around €197 billion.

The UAE’s willingness to invest was also clear: with its strong presence at Arab Health and a wide range of innovation projects on display, we could tell that no expense or effort will be spared to help the UAE gain a foothold in the life sciences sector and to establish itself as a key player.

What about the MDR?

Unlike at previous trade fairs, at Arab Health we got the impression that businesses in the MENA region are definitely aware of the demands MDR places on the life sciences industry and that its regulations can’t be avoided. Most businesses in Asia and the MENA region have already submitted applications and the accompanying documentation for their existing products in order to meet the MDR requirements, and are now waiting for a response from the official bodies. The European Commission’s decision to extend the transition period to 2028 has reduced the immediate pressure on businesses to ensure their products comply with the MDR – they now don’t have to rush, and they can feel more confident that the process will be successful.

Partnerships with consultancies that specialize in meeting the regulations and opening up markets in Asia and the MENA region also offer big future opportunities for European consultancies, who in return can help with opening up markets in Europe. These partnerships offer access to local and regulatory expertise, as well as cultural insights which are crucial for successfully navigating foreign markets.

Export opportunities and translation services

By contrast, it seemed that many businesses didn’t fully appreciate the fact that translations in this sensitive industry have a significant role to play in relation to the MDR and exports. Our impression was that most businesses still consider language services to be relatively unimportant. Even though high-quality translations are crucial, all too often businesses see them as something they don’t need to focus on in their everyday work.

As MEINRAD has previously said, a professional translation workflow is vital for businesses looking to sell their medical products across the EU, as the MDR stipulates that product documentation must be translated into all 24 official EU languages. The European Commission recently published updated MDR and IVDR tables with the language requirements of each EU Member State for medical device manufacturers. So businesses looking for a translation service provider should make it one of their top priorities to find a service provider which is familiar with what the MDR, IVDR and other regulations require from translations and how to ensure top-quality results and patient safety. And it’s even better if the service provider also has ISO 13485 certification – we found that many people were fully aware of ISO 13485 when we were networking at Arab Health, as has been the case at other trade fairs.

Arab Health 2024 overall

Where does the life sciences industry currently stand? Artificial intelligence remains a hot topic, and it’s allowing businesses to keep up in the race to develop innovative products – anyone who doesn’t embrace (generative) AI in their product development will quickly fall behind. Digital technologies and AI represent promising opportunities for the medical sector, and they’re already being used both at the start of the innovation process (R&D) and in products on the market, such as for diagnostics using patient data. And AI is also making more and more of an impact in the translation industry.

MEINRAD’s main conclusion from Arab Health is that the life sciences industry is a futuristic, global sector where Austria, despite being a small country, has a role to play with its innovation and expertise. Arab Health 2024 was an impressive and enriching experience, and it was fantastic to see lots of familiar faces and meet new people. We’re already looking forward to the next one, and we can’t wait to find out what 2024 has in store for this sector!


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2 Source:,Milliarden%20Euro-%20auf%20den%20Auslandsumsatz



Main image © MEINRAD