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How important it is to detect a disease early on to get it treated effectively? Very. And you do not need a doctor to offer this piece of wisdom. As such, testing techniques are becoming an important weapon for healthcare professionals worldwide in their crusade against increasing diseases. In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) is one such innovative weapon that is showing promise in detecting and confirming the presence of a disease, ranging from acute to lethal diseases such as cancer and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Today, approximately 60% of all medical diagnoses are based on IVD tests.

Commonly known as ‘laboratory tests’, IVD involves testing of samples (e.g. blood, urine, tissue and other body fluids from the human body) in order to detect a wide range of infections, diseases and conditions. It can be as simple as performing a glucose test at home, or require a sophisticated technology to detect complex virus strains such as HIV and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) at a state-of-the-art hospital.




Given its rising importance, the global market for IVD is expected to increase from US$ 60.3 billion in 2015 to US$ 81.1 billion in 2020, at a CAGR of 6.1%. Developed regions like North America and Europe are expected to witness a fall in their market share to 54% in 2020 from 65% in 2014 as the LAAM (Latin America, Africa and Middle East) and Asia regions jostle for a bigger market share.

Region wise, the GCC is likely to become one of the fastest-growing IVD markets during this period. This growth in the GCC IVD market will arise from higher investments in healthcare from both the government and the private sector, rising number of expatriates, growing demand for health insurance, and increasing incidences of lifestyle diseases as a result of high disposable income.

Boom times are ahead for the GCC IVD market, thanks to intense research, which would lead to a surge in the demand for IVD tests for chronic health conditions. It will be further driven by a high demand for technologically-advanced devices for early and precise detection of diseases owing to a rapid increase in the incidences of chronic and infectious diseases. However, stringent regulatory frameworks and the lack of proper reimbursement policies might put brakes on the growth.



Saudi Arabia leads the IVD market in the GCC and is expected to register 110 million IVD-based tests annually by 2019

The GCC IVD market is dominated by Saudi Arabia, followed by the UAE. Biochemistry, hematology and hormonal tests contribute about 70% to the total diagnostics tests in Saudi Arabia; whereas biochemistry, hematology and bacteriology tests contribute about 50% to the total diagnostics tests in the UAE. Between 2014 and 2019, the IVD market in Saudi Arabia grew by 14% and is further expected to grow at over 15% to reach 110 million tests annually by 2019. On the other hand, due to its exemption of import tariffs on in vitro and diagnostic equipment, the UAE has become an attractive destination for medical devices import. Over 2011-2014, the medical devices market in the country increased at a CAGR of around 11%.

Lab-in-a-backpack: POC Diagnostics in GCC is a technology definitely worth investing in

Along with the other sectors, the global healthcare is hit by the wave of disruptive innovations. Of the many innovative technologies that have come to the fore, point-of-care testing (POCT) is one.

Quick, easy and accurate diagnosis is the need of the hour as doctors and other healthcare professionals strive to provide faster response to ensure effective patient care. In this context, POCT offers a revolutionary promise for rapid, portable, and easy-to-operate IVD testing and has the potential to expand across all care sites, ranging from hospital bed to primary care (polyclinics or medical centers) to alternative care settings such as medical camp facilities, nursing facilities, and even homes. It is also set to further disrupt centralized laboratory operations with its low turnaround time as compared to the conventional IVD testing.

Accreditation Canada defines POCT as “any testing conducted outside a lab, in a hospital, in a clinic, or by a healthcare organization providing ambulatory care. It includes testing performed at sites outside the traditional lab dedicated to medical biology, near where care is delivered to a patient. POCT results may help modify methodology for patient care.”

With its ability to supplement the functions of a central laboratory, POCT is rapidly expanding across the GCC. Over the next 5 to 10 years, the POCT market in the region is expected to grow significantly, riding on rising aging population, growing middle class with high disposable income and higher incidences of infectious and chronic diseases.

All in all, it can be said that POCT is set to find more takers in the developing and emerging markets as compared to the developed markets because of comparatively weaker penetration and lower uptake until now. Such a scenario heralds exciting times for industry players, who have the opportunity to exploit newer horizons.

The future looks bright for POCT in the GCC but it would be interesting to see how fast it can be adopted and implemented.


Ashish Kumar Mishra – Project Manager – Strategy, Market & Business Research
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