The Roche Column

Redefining the diagnostics industry in the Middle East

Middle East Health speaks to Harald Wolf, General Manager of Roche Diagnostics Middle East, who recently moved to Dubai to lead Roche Diagnostics Middle East.

Harald Wolf, who took up his position at Roche Diagnostics Middle East on 1 June, is responsible for 16 countries in the region. He points out that he has had “a very long history with the company - more than 20 years. In my last position I was also responsible for a very broad region covering all the Eastern European countries, Greece and Africa and the sub-Sahara, so I’m familiar with emerging markets and the unpredictability that comes with it.”

Talking about the Middle East, he added: “The 16 markets we serve in the Middle East are very heterogeneous. However, there are countries that have a very good infrastructure - while others clearly need to be further developed. Overall, I think over the last few years – particularly in some countries – there has been a greater focus on developing the healthcare system mainly through governmental investment.”

He cited the UAE as a frontrunner in innovative approaches in the region. “I believe in constantly raising the bar and elevating standards while maintaining the highest quality; these must go hand in hand. What I have noticed is that the UAE system which is so successful is now regarded as best practice - the role model - by some other countries.”

Roche set up a Management Centre in Dubai in 2012.

“It is a strong evidence of our commitment to the region,” said Wolf. “We see it as a great opportunity to bring all of the Roche innovations to the regional markets and closer to our partners. We have set up a logistics hub and a regional customer support centre from Dubai. From Dubai we serve all of the markets in the region, although in each market we have our representatives. We have marketing representatives in all the countries, so whenever there’s a question from one of our customers they can approach our local representatives.

“Our call centre is a vital element in our operations. If customers urgently need to connect with us, they can call the hotline and be provided with a solution from a dedicated team of experts in in-vitro diagnostics. For 80% of calls coming in to the call centre, a solution is given within 20 minutes.”

A dedicated training centre has also been set up in Dubai and more than 8,000 people have taken Roche’s training courses to date.

Research & Development
Roche invests 12% of total sales in research and development. “This is remarkably high compared to others,” Wolf remarked. “Why do we do it? It’s our fi rm belief in innovation. It is at the heart of everything we do at Roche and brings value to patients. However, if we’re not able to develop products by ourselves Roche is also active in acquisitions.”

Commenting on the strength of the company, Wolf said: “Roche is number one in diagnostics because we have the broadest portfolio in the world. In immunology, we have 166 assays – more than any other company. We have fully automated solutions, which bring incredible value to the laboratory, because it makes the lab very effi cient. Moreover, it is safe for the technician and the outcome is accurate because the automation reduces the risk of contamination. Not to mention the cost savings its brings.”

Wolf noted that the region’s growing population poses a challenge. “There are certain diseases that are challenging, such as diabetes which has an 11% prevalence in the region. This is comparatively very high.

“The number of oncology cases has also increased – all of this has an impact on how healthcare is provided. The ageing population is also a challenge and this impacts on how the healthcare system will be fi nanced in the future.”


Roche Diagnostics raises the bar on blood screening at the ISBT conference

Roche Diagnostics introduced powerful blood safety innovations at the 34th International Conference of the 34th International Congress of the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in September.

Roche had the honour of having HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visit their stand on the second day of the show.

These cutting-edge solutions Roche exhibited will enable blood banks in the Middle East and around the world to improve blood screening, which is required to provide safe and secure blood supplies. Harald Wolf, General Manager of Roche Diagnostics Middle East, noted that the company’s “comprehensive portfolio of advanced serology screening and Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) technologies, delivers industry-leading reliability and workfl ow effi ciency for blood centres, bringing peace of mind to both physicians and patients”.

Roche Middle East


Date of upload: 20th Nov 2016  

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