Canada has formally dropped many of the sanctions it imposed on Iran, creating a new opportunity for markted health products. On February 5, 2016, Canada amended its Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on Iran in order to implement the decisions of the UN Security Council. In addition, amendments were made to Canada’s sanctions against Iran under the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations. What this means for the marketed health products industry, is that Iran is now open for business – for imported health products. Prior to this, exporting health products to Iran was not permitted.
Now the race is on to supply Iran with all the products it needs to overhaul its troubled economy. Canada should be at the forefront of the sales attack. European companies, from France’s Airbus to Italian oil-engineering giant Saipem, are already signing tens of billions of euros of Iranian contracts. Canadian made products have a key advantage, however – the GMP manufacturing standards are world class, which is very attractive to Iranian buyers.
Iran is the economic equivalent of a Group of Seven country. With a population of 80 million, more than double Canada’s, it’s a substantial and tempting emerging market. By developing country standards, its citizens are well educated and fairly wealthy. The country sits on the world’s fourth-largest oil reserve and has enormous demand for consumer products such as dietary supplements. Iranian consumers on average have higher incomes than consumers in developing nations.
Iran has a young and image-conscious population, and is a great market for sports nutrition and cosmetics. Women under 40 account for almost 20% of the population, who purchase a high amount of cosmetics. Iran is the second-largest cosmetics market in the Middle East behind Saudi Arabia – and is ranked seventh largest globally. Cosmetics are 0.1% of the country’s $52 billion total imports ($52 million) and there is an indication of the potential for growth in the most recent figures for cosmetics imports.
In the health products category, consumer awareness has increased as a result of the activities of key foreign suppliers. Global brands lead the Iranian vitamins and dietary supplements category. By contrast, the domestic Iranian pharmaceutical industry has not been able to produce a wide range of products within the vitamins and dietary supplements category, leaving a substantial opportunity for imported brands.
Most doctors in Iran tend to recommend the consumption of mineral supplements and vitamins when prescribing medication to patients. Moreover, the activities of leading multi-national suppliers have played a major role in increasing consumer awareness. In addition, the Ministry of Health is focusing on improving health among its residents by encouraging the use of food supplements.
NHP Consulting can provide business development services for the Middle East, including Iran. Our International Business Development Manager, Babak Razavi, is originally from Iran and has lived/worked in the Middle East throughout most of his career. NHP Consulting can provide regulatory services for any country in the Middle East, including Iran. Contact us today to learn more how we can help.