Medicinal Product Regulation and Product Liability in the United Arab Emirates: An Overview (Part I of II)

How does the government of the UAE decide which medicines to allow for human use? What happens when products don’t work as intended? These are all important considerations to take account of when visiting any doctor in the UAE. Can you get your preferred medicine in the UAE? Will insurance cover it? Can you get the generic version of an otherwise expensive medication? Is this generic version comparable to the brand version? Is the diagnosis and treatment I have been prescribed up to international standards, or should I seek treatment abroad? In this article, we discuss Medicinal Product Regulation and Product Liability in UAE.

The Pharmaceutical Law of 1983, the 1984 legislation concerning the licensing of physicians, and the 1975 law concerning the establishment of clinics and hospitals are the most pertinent to consider. All clinics and hospitals, public or private, must comply with the requirements of these laws to be fully licensed for practice. The Ministry of Health is tasked with ensuring compliance with the various legislations and provides public healthcare. Public healthcare in the UAE is a fast-growing area. With its affordable rates for non-nationals, as well as its full coverage for nationals of the UAE, public healthcare is a booming industry, meeting international standards. The Ministry of Health makes every effort to meet the standards laid out by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international standards.

These legislations cover not only medicine but things like medical technology and research, keeping the UAE on the cutting edge of medical technology research. Free zones across the UAE have themselves been the primary hub for medical technology manufacturing and progress. International manufacturers often set up branches and factories in these free zones, retaining full legal ownership; this only adds to the thriving economy of Dubai and the UAE as a whole. However, these companies are subject to strict adherence to the relevant legislation, whether they are operating on the mainland or in a freezone.

The Ministry of Health is tasked not only with ensuring the approval and quality of medicine production in the UAE but is also entrusted with assuring the quality of imports and exports on medical technology and medication. The most important trade relations regarding the import of medicine is between the UAE and India, as India is one of the leading exporters in generic versions of medication in the region. Though there is fierce competition with Iran in the generics market, the relationship between the UAE and India in this area is essential to both states. It is for that reason that trust, as well as strict adherence to regulations, are indispensable.

Read More about Indian Laws and Pharmaceutical Law.

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