Officials and representatives of the 18 Italian companies participating at the Arab Health 2022 at the DWTC.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Badly stricken during the advent of the Novel Coronavirus in 2020, there is no let-up for Italy in the fields of Science, Medicine and Technology. It is looking forward to be a much better contributor to all the global health needs in the years to come.
Interviewed from the Jan. 24 to 27 “Arab Health Week,” Italian Trade Commissioner to the UAE Amedeo Scarpa attributed the enduring progress of the Southern European economy to Science, Medicine and Technology to “the success of the industry (that) stems from an ecosystem and environment which supports growth, innovation and exports.”
He continued: “For example, Italy has six science parks and 12 dedicated Life Science centres of excellence and 16 National Research Council centres dedicated to Life Sciences. There are 50 universities in Italy with programmes related to the Life Science field. These provide both innovation and a highly-specialised workforce. Italy universities continue to rise up the World University Rankings, climbing four places last year, showing the continuous improvement in Italian research, education and innovation.”
Scarpa heads the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) in the UAE, under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ITA develops, facilitates and promotes the globalisation of Italian firms by way of economic and trade relations with other countries. For the ongoing business-to-business and continuing learning education (CLE) initiatives at the “Arab Health Week 2022,” the government agency is responsible for the second-year-in-a-row participation of 18 small to medium enterprises (SMEs), at least four of which are classified as medical and technological start-ups.
Italian Ambassador to the UAE Nicola Lener, Consul General in Dubai Giuseppe Finocchiaro, and Scarpa welcomed the delegation at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Scarpa said: “Arab Health is the leading medical equipment exhibition in the Middle East that every year brings together thousands of healthcare professionals eager to learn, network and trade. This platform is a great opportunity for the Italian companies operating in the medical sector that want to enter new markets or to increase their already existing business relationship.”
Earlier and relative to the progressing movement of Italy in Science, Medicine and Technology, particularly in the pharmaceutical and medical sectors, Scarpa said: “Italy has the best and fastest growing Life Science sector in Europe, underpinned by an ecosystem which supports innovation and accounts for 11 per cent of the Italian (gross domestic product). Italy has the largest pharmaceutical industry in Europe with gross value and revenues of 32 billion Euros (Dhs132,647,422,944.00). It is also the fastest pharmaceutical exporter in Europe. It has a strong mix of large pharmaceutical companies, innovative and expanding SMEs across biotech, (medical technology), and pharma.”
On exports and in the case of the UAE, the country imports an average of 70 million Euros (Dhs290,081,786.40) worth of medical and pharmaceutical products from Italy each year. As of September 2021, this was recorded at 48 million Euros (Dhs198,928,210.80). Fifty per cent of the imports are “medicaments” specifically antibiotics, penicillin, anti-malarial and provitamins.
The UAE was noted to have an “increasing interest for ‘Made in Italy’ diagnostic equipment including machinery for radiotherapy) that have more than tripled exports to the country (plus 159 per cent, 2.5 million Euros or Dhs10,361,027.96) and for orthopaedic services (plus 60 per cent, two million Euros or Dhs8.289,116.21).”
Scarpa added: “Our strong and reliable trade relationship with the UAE in the medical sector is one of our most (lasting) with the country. The trust that this country put in the Italian expertise was confirmed also during the pandemic when the import of equipment intended for intensive care and help-breathing from Italy jumped up by 440 per cent.”
Meanwhile, the 4,400 diversified medical device companies in Italy employ approximately 94,000 professionals, with a turn-over of 16.7 billion Euros (Dhs69,198,192,187.50) out of which 5.7 billion (Dhs23,618,160,962.70) was exported in 2020 with a growth rate of 7.9 per cent compared to the previous year. Of these, 1,936 (44 per cent) are into biodmedicals; 792 (18 per cent) into instrumental biomedical; 484 (11 per cent) into “borderline based on substances”; 440 (10 per cent) into technical equipment; 264 (six per cent) into in vitro diagnostics; 264 (six per cent) into services and software; and 220 (five per cent) into electro-medical diagnostics.
In the application of digital transformation in healthcare, Italy is “paying particular attention to real time remote digital imaging-based diagnostics, either Molecular Diagnostics or for Digital Pathology application. Important also is the integration between diagnostic and clinical laboratories, software and genomic database, utilising advanced technologies such as AI, machine learning and the state of the art patented software.”