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Pharmaceutical business setup in Dubai mainland

October 24, 2021by Kate Williams0

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the pharmaceutical industry is rapidly developing around the globe. In addition, this industry is one of the fastest-expanding sections in the retail industry. There are many factors why the healthcare industry is so profitable in Dubai and the UAE. However, the pharma industry in the UAE requires an in-depth understanding of the Ministry of Health’s protocols and requirements.

In this article, you will learn everything about how to set up a pharmaceutical business in Dubai Mainland. Therefore, make sure to read the important information about the documents and all tasks involving the setup process. However, also learn about all the advantages of setting up this type of business in the UAE. Let’s observe:

1. Pharmaceutical Industries

Pharmacies are one of the most popular places in malls and are also among the rapidly rising areas in the local retail sector in Dubai and the UAE, both residential and commercial. However, some of the newest pharmacies are part of a wide local or CGG branch of international brands highly popular.

Individuals wanting to establish a pharmacy in Dubai or the UAE may take advantage of brand name popularity and links to broad supply chains. Some business partners like Connect Middle East will assist you to choose a property based on a detailed market analysis.

However, the selling of pharmaceutical goods in the country is allowed to both UAE nationals and foreigners. Nonetheless, they must register with the government bodies in charge and comply with the UAE laws and regulations.


Business setup is sometimes an expensive process, learn about our guide to launch a low-cost business in the UAE.

In other words, the government is working to guide medical tourists to the UAE by offering the best infrastructure and healthcare facilities. The country is strategically located to become the transport network by linking people from different countries. These important factors are one of the best options for why individuals want to Start a Pharmaceutical Business setup in Dubai.

2. Advantages of setting up a Pharma Industry in Dubai Mainland

  • Healthcare Tourism: Dubai’s physical location has made it an easy choice when it comes to medical tourism. This practice has been continuously attracting international investors and entrepreneurs every year to a large extent.
  • Full ownership of the company: you obtain full control of the business’ share when you start a business in the medical sector in Dubai. However, you can always take back the income earned and the amount invested if you opt for company liquidation.
  • No Corporate Tax: the exemption of corporate tax for almost 50 years is one of the most motivating factors for investors and entrepreneurs to set up a pharma industry in the UAE.
  • No Customs: you are relieved from custom duties when you start a medical company in the UAE.
  • Strategic Location: the city grants investors several options about location. These options such as Mainland and Free zones were created to meet the needs of the different companies appropriately. In addition, the Dubai Healthcare City (DHC) is a dedicated free zone for healthcare and medical businesses.
  • Multiple Collaboration: when it comes to businesses working in every domain, the location of the city is the best. Likewise, it is easy for companies in healthcare and medicine to work with other firms.

3. Why establish a pharmaceutical company in the UAE?

Since the last decade, the UAE has grown massively in the pharmaceutical and medical industries. For existing firms and business entrepreneurs, it is one of the best destinations to establish their company. Here is a list of the key factors that make the UAE a good destination:

  • The government has put into practice different measures to make the medical industry grow.
  • A link for neighboring countries to join.
  • Presence of the best business hubs for pharmaceuticals.
  • The massive infrastructure of networks and transports streamline the different business operations.
  • The unique opportunity to partner with the different MNCs.
  • The adaptability of new technologies in the medical and pharmaceutical sector.
  • The biggest center managing diagnostic equipment.
  • The country has a strong relationship with important equipment businesses in the United States.
  • The country offers several options for setting up a business such as Mainland and Free zones.


4. What is the difference between Mainland and Free Zones businesses?

For businesses operating in the United Arab Emirates, there are 2 main jurisdictions: Free zones and the Mainland. These jurisdictions feature a different set of rules; therefore, companies must have a full understanding of them to construct a good business strategy.

Free Zones

These special economic zones were created to improve the country’s economic activities by giving profitable tax and business incentives to potential investors and entrepreneurs. However, businesses located in this area are not able to sell their services or products outside the region.


Businesses located in the mainland jurisdiction can provide services and trade anywhere within the UAE and internationally.

The UAE has many advantageous places to start your business, learn why you should setup your business in Dubai Mainland.


5. Things to have in mind before starting in the pharma industry in the UAE

However, before you submit your application and gather all the necessary documents, you must consider the next key factors:

  • Location: the location of your company is crucial and it will condition your clients and income. You or a consultant partner must perform an in-depth investigation on similar companies in the area to examine the market you are entering.
  • Competitors: you must extensively examine your competitors will make you learn the products and goods they offer to their clients.
  • Size and Oversight: it is important you ensure your company meets the minimum requirements. In addition, a licensed pharmacist must manage the business and needs to be present at all times.


6. How to start a successful pharmaceutical distribution business?

  1. Planning

This is the first part of the process of how to do a Pharmaceutical Business setup in Dubai. This step is when you plan the foundation of your business. You can start hiring a professional business consultant like Connect Middle East that has deep knowledge and fully understands the pharmaceutical industry.

This person or entity is responsible for determining your business concept and determining if it would do as well as it is supposed to. The second part is to comprehensively evaluate your options. There are some routes you make take when you are starting in the medical industry.

  • Start a pharmaceutical company with a manufacturing unit.
  • Market different medicines under your new brand name.
  • Partner up with an established medicine manufacturer.

Consider that any option you choose depends on your business goals and overall budget.

  1. Create a business plan

Once you decided what type of medical company you want to start, you must create a business plan.

Research potential competitors: identifying your competitors will give you the basics on where and why they excel. After you study their business model, you will come up with something better.

Identify future expenses: you must examine the total investment required to start a pharma industry in the UAE. Certainly, this includes deciding which steps like trials, manufacturing, or distribution will happen in-house or will be outsourced.

Verify license requirements: it is crucial you acquire all necessary licenses. The pharmaceutical distribution depends on your type of business but; overall, medical start-ups are considered LLCs.

  1. Establish Your Brand

Once you started your business, you must establish your brand. However, you will be one step closer to building a successful business when you research and invest in marketing and advertising:

  • Logo.
  • Brand image.
  • Company mission.
  • Website.
  • Marketing campaign.

7. Types of pharmaceutical businesses in Dubai Mainland

There are some companies you can form to market pharmaceutical and medical products in Dubai and the UAE. These companies are listed below:

Pharmacy: this is a store authorized to market medicines and other prescription equipment. However, other goods such as cosmetic products, toiletries, and other convenience products are listed here too. However, it is mandatory that a licensed pharmacist must remain in the pharmacy at all times.

If you want to keep learning, we have an in-depth article about the different steps to start a business in the UAE.

Para pharmaceutical trading: this type of trade concerns the type of prescriptions goods that are not used specifically for internal therapy or medicine. Lotions, perfumes, hand sanitizers, mouthwash, plasters, and other items are included too.

Drug store: this offers the same items as a pharmacy, but it is also a wholesaler.

Pharmaceutical business setup in Dubai

8. What is the Legal Process for Pharmaceutical Business Setup in Dubai Mainland?

  1. Select a business structure: the first step you must take is to select the structure of the company. Likewise, you have various choices in Dubai to select the right structure that fits your company’s needs.
  2. Choose the trade name of the business: you must establish a trading name for your company. It has to be rememberable and specific; likewise, the trade name must not be offensive. However, once the company’s name is settled, you must obtain approval from the Dubai Government Authorities.
  3. Select a strategic location: this position is one of the most crucial factors in the success of the company. Establishing a business where the target customer is not present leads to loss. Dubai has Mainland and Free zone jurisdictions that follow special instructions on the incorporation of businesses.
  4. Apply for the DED approval: you must establish your company’s general manager and shareholders. After that, the application form and passports and shareholders’ papers are sent to the Dubai Department of Economic Development.
  5. DHA approval: you must obtain the required permission to start business operations from the Department of Health Authority. Certainly, they must identify and examine the practices the business will carry out and will authorize them after in-depth scrutiny.
  6. Proposal of documents: after the DHA approval you must draw up documents like the Articles of association and the Memorandum, this provides proper business activities material.
  7. Obtain the requisite license: you can obtain a request for a clinic if you want to start a clinic, etc. Once the licenses are obtained, you can start your Pharmaceutical Business setup in Dubai

If you want to keep learning, we have an in-depth article about the different types of trade licenses in the UAE.

9. How can Connect Middle East help you establish your pharmaceutical business in Dubai Mainland?

As we mentioned earlier; a business partner will help you in all the different steps of this process so you can start your business quickly and hassle-free. In case you decided to choose us to assist you, we will offer you different professional services to ensure your pharmaceutical business grows such as:

When you start a company you face various government-related processes, learn the benefits of hiring PRO services.

However, we provide corporate services and business advice to businesses in the UAE. With our more than 2 decades in the market, we offer several years of experience in excellent services. We have obtained the best market knowledge that helps companies in the UAE to grow.

Connect Middle East is a robust service and business hub in the UAE that offers the best-personalized solutions to businesses in Mainland, Free Zone, and Offshore.

In addition, you can recruit the highly skilled workers you need using our innovative hiring services. Or if you want to boost your HR department productivity, you can ask for HR our payroll and consultancy services.

Would you like to contact Connect Middle East to learn tips or more useful information on how to set up a pharmaceutical business in Dubai Mainland?

Feel free to contact us at any time you want to request our Pharmaceutical Business setup in Dubai services by calling us on +971 4 379 9111. In addition, you can email us at or visit our website to obtain more information and Contact us for enquiry regarding Company Formation in Dubai     |     PRO Services in Dubai    |   Business Setup in Dubai 


Kate Williams

Kate is the Global Strategy Director at Connect Group. She is specialized in business setup in dubai , international business expansion and employee relocation. She studied in Southampton (United Kingdom) and moved to the UAE in 2014.

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