How to Import Healthcare Products in the UAE

To successfully enter the UAE healthcare market, it is important to know the company setup process and local legal compliance.

In this insight, learn how you can import healthcare products, medical devices, and other supplies in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and other Emirates. Additionally, get to know the options you have to enter UAE’s thriving healthcare market.

Legally Distribute Medical Supplies in Dubai

If you are interested in the medical supply trade, you may enter the Dubai market in two ways. 

Firstly, you must apply for product approvals from the Ministry of Health (Ministry of Health and Prevention). Second, you can set up a medical supply business, or legal entity such as a medical supplier or retailer business.

Alternatively, the company can look to engage a local distribution agent or commercial agent who is MOH-licensed for import and distribution. On the other hand, you can also take the distributor route by engaging with a registered local distribution agent or commercial agent. 

The agent or your partner company will then have to register your products in the market and own the distribution rights to your brand in UAE the local agent. Of note, unwinding the contract for reasons such as commercial agency agreements will be hard to do in the future. 

Legally Distribute Medical Supplies in Dubai

A.) Company Registration Process with the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP)

What license is required to trade medical equipment?

Firstly, the importer must be a legal entity established in the UAE or a UAE national to import and sell healthcare products in the country. Then, register the company with the correct activities mentioning the pharma or medical equipment trade. Following the business setup, the company should submit product details and comply with the right authorities for approval. 

By and large the Ministry of Health (Ministry of Health and Prevention) controls the distribution and importation of medical devices, equipment, and all consumables throughout the UAE. To distribute products one must correctly set up and register with the correct activities on the Department of Economic Development (DED) trade licence. 

Application For Medical Trading License Process

To be an authorised reseller of the devices, the company must register under MOHAP to import and sell the goods directly to hospitals. Companies seeking registration with the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention can opt for two registrations.

Specifically, registering as an authorised reseller is suggested if the intent is to sell directly to healthcare facilities. And, along with this are necessitating adherence to specific requirements.

 Some of the guidelines are: 

  • Warehouse space of 2000 sqft
  • Meet fire safety check
  • Air conditioning system for device storage
  • Should only engage with medical institutions with in-house experts who can operate the devices. For instance, X-ray machines must be operated and purchased by radiologists

On the contrary, if the company wishes to use an intermediary registered seller for healthcare systems/hospitals. No registration or warehouse is required.

Legally Distribute Medical Supplies in Dubai

B.) Product Registration Process with the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP)

Effectively navigating Dubai’s medical equipment trading sector requires strict adherence to regulations outlined by the Ministry of Health and Prevention. Federal law mandates the registration of all medical equipment and pharmaceutical products, permitting the distribution exclusively of registered items within the country.

A mainland UAE license is a crucial step for trading and importing medical equipment in Dubai. The Dubai Health Authority outlines two key activities related to this business: 

a.) Medical, Surgical Articles & Requisites Trading:

This category involves reselling specific instruments and precise medical apparatuses. Generally, it includes items for treating various diseases and health disorders.

For example, earphones, batteries for cardiac patients, pulse regulators, walking sticks, splints for bone fractures, medical shoes, artificial limbs, dentures, and dental aligners.

Also, surgical requisites include artificial organs and parts to replace damaged organs, bone joints, and heart valves, as well as surgical suture bandages and plasters.

b.) Medical, Surgical Equipment & Instruments Trading:

It encompasses selling medical devices and reselling instruments used in healthcare settings. To clarify, this activity covers a wide range, including diagnostic, treatment, surgical, and rehabilitation equipment.

Both trading activities can be consolidated under a single license, making operating within a broader scope efficient. Establishing a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is popular, allowing 100% foreign ownership.

Alternatively, businesses may opt for a Corporate Nominee Partner, such as PRO Partner Group, to hold 51% or less, facilitating smoother interactions with local or government medical entities.  Furthermore, this strategic approach eliminates the need for a commercial agent and ensures long-term control and protection for the foreign party.

Benefits of Using a Corporate Partner:

  • Maintains control and safeguards long-term interests
  • Eases business transactions with local or government medical facilities
  • Eliminates the need for a commercial agent when importing these goods

What documents are required to import healthcare products to the UAE?

  • Residency visa
  • Passport with visa copy
  • Health insurance card
  • National ID card (for non-residents)
  • Copy of Emirates ID card (for residents)
  • You must have a minimum of 5 years of experience in the medical sector
  • Income proof with a bank statement for at least six months
  • A valid license or certificate from the relevant licensing authority, issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED)
  • A valid business license and register with the concerned authorities
  • Adequate financial resources to run your business and meet all statutory obligations
  • Provide proof of age and identity documents for yourself, your partner, and any employees who will be working with you on the business premises

What is the application process for starting to trade medical equipment?

  • Identify Your Business Activity: Two activity groups are classified under Medical Equipment Trading. (1) Medicines Trading or (2) Mechanical & Engineering Equipment Trading
  • Obtain Preliminary Approval from DED: Securing this endorsement signifies official approval from the UAE government to establish your business within the country. If you don’t get this approval, progression to subsequent application steps is not possible.
  • Draft and Execute the Memorandum of Association (MOA): The Local Sponsor and, at a minimum, one partner must be physically present for the signing. Plus, it is also possible to do electronic MOA signing.
  • Lease a Physical Office or Desk Space: A Dubai mainland company must maintain a physical office location. This involves submitting the tenancy contract and obtaining any necessary additional approvals.
  • Get your Dubai Mainland trade license: Pay all associated fees and ultimately acquire the trade license.

B.) Product Registration Process with the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP)

Dubai’s Appeal as a Healthcare Hub

The UAE government’s proactive strides to improve the healthcare sector drive demand to import medical devices and medical equipment in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and other Emirates.

Moreover, Dubai stands out as an enticing destination for establishing a medical equipment trading enterprise because of its business-friendly environment. Of note, Dubai remains the gateway to introduce innovations and products in the Middle East healthcare market.

Streamlined Business Setup with NH Management

In conclusion, by understanding the options and benefits, businesses can make informed decisions for a successful venture in Dubai’s medical equipment trading sector.

Finally, for entrepreneurs seeking a seamless and efficient registration process, NH Management offers expert guidance and assistance throughout the setup journey. Interested individuals can contact us via email [email protected] or through our hotline number: 800 64626.

Collaborate with NH Management and embark on a journey to build a thriving healthcare business in Dubai. So, let’s connect and make a difference together.

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