With the Kuwaiti government's continued commitment to austerity, spending on healthcare provision for expatriate workers (which forms nearly two-thirds of its population) is going to be thoroughly scrutinised. New hospitals are being planned for expatriate workers and infrastructure development will continue to be a key area of growth, in addition to opportunities for private healthcare insurance providers to serve the expatriate market. The government's focus on non-communicable disease control will continue to provide lucrative opportunities for pharmaceutical companies.
Headline Expenditure Projections
- Pharmaceuticals: KWD290mn (US$1.03bn) in 2013 to KWD306mn (US$1.10bn) in 2014; +5.6% in local currency terms and +6.8% in US dollar terms. Forecast raised to +6.8% in US$ terms for 2014.
- Healthcare: KWD1.50bn (US$5. 35bn) in 2013 to KWD1.67bn (US$6.00bn) in 2014; +10.9% in local currency terms and +12.1% in US dollar terms. Forecast raised to 12.1% in US$ terms for 2014.
Kuwait scored 58.5 in BMI's Pharmaceutical Risk/Reward Rating (RRR) for Q214; a slight improvement in its score from Q413. Kuwait has risen to second place, behind Saudi Arabia, out of a total of 30 markets.
Key Trends And Developments
In February 2014, the system of allotting the morning/day shift to Kuwait citizens and GCC nationals, while allotting the evening shift to expatriates, is set to continue receiving approval from Dr Abdul Aziz Al- Farhood, the director of the Jahra District, the Arab Times reports. According to the paper, the system now applies to other health districts and evening shifts are also expected to be allotted to Bedouins. Earlier in January 2014, the Kuwaiti government terminated the services of 2,233 expatriate workers with conditions such as HIV AIDS and hepatitis C, and sent them back to their countries, the Arab Times reports.
In February 2014, Kuwait's Health Minister Ali Al-Obaidi during his visit to Turkey said that health cooperation between Turkey and Kuwait will be rewarding, particularly in the training of medical staff and joint investment in healthcare, reports the Arab Times.
In January 2014, the government renewed its focus on prevention of non-communicable diseases at the 39th session of the Health Ministers of Gulf Cooperation Council member states. The GCC ministers launched a programme to train staff in non-communicable disease control and established an award for excellence in disease combat.
BMI Economic View: We expect to see moderate economic growth in Kuwait, with real GDP growth of 2.9% in 2014, from of 3.0% in 2013. While lower gains in oil production will drag down headline GDP growth over the coming years, non-oil economic activity should remain relatively robust.
BMI Political View: Kuwait's prime minister reshuffled his five-month old cabinet on January 6, replacing seven ministers due to tensions between the legislative and executive branches. Kuwait's new finance minister Anas al-Saleh pledged on January 14 to continue a review of the country's extensive subsidy system initiated by his predecessor in November 2013.