Business Setup for Selling Pharmaceutical Goods in UAE

01Aug, 21

Business Setup for Selling Pharmaceutical Goods in UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a thriving hub for pharmaceutical businesses, with its strategic location, growing economy, and world-class infrastructure. It also boasts a significant pharmaceutical industry, which is backed up by a plethora of regulations. Foreigners and nationals can sell pharmaceutical products in Dubai if they follow the law and register with the appropriate authorities. However, entering this market and setting up your pharmaceutical industry can be daunting, especially when adhering to regulatory requirements. This blog post will guide you through the essential steps to set up a pharmaceutical business for selling pharmaceutical goods in the UAE, focusing on product registration with the Ministry of Health and the role of pharmaceutical distributors in Dubai and the broader UAE market.

Understand the Local Market for Pharmacy

Pharmacies are one of the fastest-growing retail sectors in Dubai, with sites ranging from prominent mall locations to most business and residential areas. The majority of this expansion is due to something other than independent operators. The new pharmacies are either franchises of well-known worldwide brands or are part of large local or GCC corporations. If you have the financial resources to open a franchise pharmacy, you will be able to benefit from brand awareness and have access to a larger supply chain of vendors. Many franchise companies may even assist you in choosing a property based on thorough market analysis.

To import or distribute pharmaceutical products, enterprises must be lawfully incorporated in the UAE and registered with the Ministry of Health. TheTrade License's operations must correspond to the products imported into the UAE. Alternatively, the corporation can work with a local distributor, or commercial agent registered as a pharmaceutical importer with the Ministry of Health. The agent can then write the importer's products on behalf of the importer. 

If you're starting as an independent contractor, you must consider joining a buying group. This will aid in achieving economies of scale and staying on top of rising inventory and operational costs. Your due research and subsequent selection of the correct buying group may determine the success or failure of your business.

Understanding the Regulatory Landscape

Setting up a pharmaceutical business in the UAE requires a keen understanding of the regulatory framework, especially concerning the registration of pharmaceutical products. The primary regulatory body responsible is the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), which oversees the entire process.

Ministry of Health Product Registration in Sharjah

Sharjah, one of the seven emirates in the UAE, has specific guidelines and regulations for product registration with the Ministry of Health. When registering pharmaceutical products in Sharjah, you should be prepared to provide comprehensive documentation, including:

  • Product details and specifications

  • Proof of compliance with international quality standards

  • Clinical trial data (if applicable)

  • Evidence of safety and efficacy

  • Labelling and packaging information

  • Import and distribution licenses

To streamline the process, consider partnering with Dhanguard’s advisors well-versed in Sharjah's specific requirements.

Pharmaceutical Distributors in Dubai and the UAE

A crucial aspect of running a successful pharmaceutical business in the UAE is choosing the right distribution channel. As the region's business and logistics hub, Dubai is home to several reputable pharmaceutical distributors. Here are some key points to consider:

Local Distribution Partners: 

Collaborating with local pharmaceutical distributors in Dubai can help you navigate the market more effectively. These partners deeply understand the local market dynamics, regulations, and established networks.

Licensing and Compliance: 

Ensure your chosen distributor holds the necessary licenses and complies with MOHAP's regulations. The distributor will ensure your products meet all requirements before reaching the market.

Quality Control: 

Implement stringent quality control measures with your distributor to maintain the integrity of your pharmaceutical products throughout the supply chain.

Types of Pharmaceutical businesses in Dubai

According to the UAE Ministry of Health, numerous pharmaceutical enterprises can be established in Dubai. These are the following:

  • Pharmacies where the sale of registered pharmaceuticals, pharmacy-produced pharmaceutical items, and medical supplies is permitted.

  • A non-pharmaceutical company that sells a variety of vitamins and beauty goods

  • Drug stores that are permitted to import, store, and distribute pharmaceuticals to wholesalers and pharmacies.

  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing firms that require special permits to manufacture, test, and market their products.

Regardless of the sort of pharmaceutical business, it can be established on Dubai's mainland or in one of its free zones.

Dubai's requirements for selling Pharmaceutical Products

The first step in beginning a pharmaceutical product sales business in Dubai is registering with the Department of Economic Development or the Freezone authority, where the business will operate.

To register a pharmaceutical firm in Dubai, the owner must get the preliminary permission and the establishment's final approval. A condition of such a facility is that the Dubai Drug Control Department inspect it.

The following documents must be submitted to register your pharmaceutical company:

  • An application forms

  • A copy of the tenancy contract

  • Preliminary approval of the premises

  • A copy of the owner's passport

  • The blueprints of the location of the pharmaceutical company

  • A copy of the location license issued by the municipality

  • The architectural planning issued by the architect or other experts in Dubai, duly certified

  • A list of the employees and their certifications

In addition to these records, enterprises must state that the product is free of hormones, heavy metals, antibiotics, steroids, pig derivatives, or any other compounds that have a biological or behavioural effect on humans. The animal type should be mentioned if the product contains any animal-derived compounds. If alcohol is utilised, specify the percentage and explain its use.

Ministry of Health Product Registration in Dubai and UAE

While product registration is a shared process across the UAE, it is essential to consider Dubai's specific regulations due to its prominent role in the pharmaceutical industry. Critical steps in product registration with MOHAP in Dubai include:

  • Submit the product dossier, which contains essential documentation about the pharmaceutical product.

  • Evaluation of the dossier by MOHAP to ensure safety, efficacy, and compliance with local regulations.

  • Issuance of a registration certificate permitting you to sell your pharmaceutical goods in Dubai and across the UAE.

Licensing of Dubai-based pharmaceutical businesses

Pharmaceutical enterprises in Dubai must register with four different authorities. These are the following:

  • Dubai Municipality which will provide the institution a license to operate in the emirate.

  • The Ministry of Health will award the license or licenses for manufacturing or selling pharmaceutical products.

  • The Department of Economic Development will grant licenses to enterprises that manufacture and distribute pharmaceuticals.

  • Customs officials, if the company intends to import or export pharmaceuticals.

The following are four major contributors to the pharmacy industry:

  • The physical location is rented.

  • Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) licences (DED). The Dubai Municipality's Health Regulation Department approval (HRD).

  • Expenses of personnel (licensed pharmacists, including any necessary training to get your employees up to speed).

  • Look at your inventory (prescription drugs and retail products).

Approvals for Pharmacy Licenses

To offer pharmaceutical items in the UAE, your company must receive a license from the DHA, according to Federal Law No.4 (1993). You must appoint a pharmacist to whom the Department of Health and Human Services licenses.

The DED requires a local UAE national sponsor to obtain a trading license. In conclusion, you will need two licenses, one from the DED and the other from the DHA.

Dubai's Import and Export Regulations for Pharmaceutical Products

Manufacturing, preparation, composition, selling, and distributing medications to prevent and cure diseases in animals and humans are all part of the pharmaceutical enterprise. A UAE associate is required for international investors who want to start a pharmaceutical company in Dubai. This associate will hold a pharmacy license. All investors seeking to manufacture or sell pharmaceutical items in Dubai must get a license before beginning operations, according to Federal Law No. 4.

How do I register pharmaceutical products with the Ministry of Health in the United Arab Emirates?

The UAE is a substantial market for pharmaceutical pharmaceuticals, with imports outnumbering domestic production. Many multinational pharmaceutical businesses have profited from the lucrative UAE market, necessitating the need to ensure strong safety standards for the benefit of customers. The Ministry of Health and Prevention regulates the importing and distributing of pharmaceutical items in the UAE (MOHAP). Importers and makers of pharmaceutical items must register with MOHAP to market their products throughout the UAE.

Post-Registration Requirements

Once your pharmaceutical products are registered and distributed in the UAE, staying up-to-date with evolving regulations is essential. The pharmaceutical industry is highly dynamic, and compliance with changing standards is crucial for maintaining your market presence and protecting public health.


Setting up a pharmaceutical business for selling pharmaceutical goods in the UAE, focusing on Sharjah and Dubai, involves intricate regulatory procedures, including Ministry of Health product registration and establishing partnerships with pharmaceutical distributors. Before being sold to the general public, all pharmaceutical items imported into and manufactured in the UAE must be registered with the Ministry of Health. All pharmaceutical businesses in the UAE must register their products to ensure that consumers obtain safe medications. The Ministry of Health's product registration process provides that pharmaceutical items do not include dangerous substances. Pharmaceutical businesses must comply with several legal standards to register their products in the UAE. Every organisation will be unable to comprehend all the conditions and criteria fully. Importers often need help navigating government authorities to obtain approval for their items. This is where product registration experts in Dubai, like Dhanguard business consultants, come in handy for companies. From the application through the certificate issue, Dhanguard Group effectively manages all aspects of UAE product registration. To ensure success in this lucrative market, consider seeking the assistance of Dhanguard consultants and legal advisors who can help you navigate the complex regulatory landscape and establish a strong foothold in this thriving industry. Your pharmaceutical business can thrive in the UAE's ever-growing healthcare sector with the right strategy and partners.