Multiple Sclerosis in Saudi Arabia, a rising concern 

Multiple Sclerosis in Saudi Arabia, a rising concern 

Multiple Sclerosis in Saudi Arabia, a rising concern 

Bayer, one of the world’s leading life sciences companies,recently held a medical summit with an objective to shed light on the prevalence and management of multiple sclerosis in the region. The event included prominent medical experts from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the region as well as senior representatives from Bayer. 

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic condition which can affect the brain and/or spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms, including problems with vision, limbmovement, sensation or balance. It is caused when anindividual’s own immune system attacks healthy cells and tissue. When this occurs, myelin – the protective insulation surrounding nerve fibers of the central nervous system (CNS) – is destroyed. Ultimately, this damage interferes with nerve communication between neurons in the CNS.

During the event, medical experts highlighted that recent studies suggest a moderate-to-high prevalence of multiple sclerosis in the region nearby (31–55 MS per 100,000 individuals), with more prevalence increasing in recent years.

According to recent studies, across the Kingdom, around 30.3% of the population are aware of multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis awareness and knowledge is suboptimal across the Saudi population. Studies indicate that there is a lack of information available about the disease.

Multiple sclerosis’ signs and symptoms may differ considerably from person to person and over the course of the disease depending on the location of affected nerve fibers. Amongst these symptoms are numbness in limbs, partial or complete loss of vision in one or both eyes, tingling or pain in body parts, fatigue, dizziness, double vision, slurred speech, and loss of bladder control.

Dr. Mohammed Al Jumah, Professor and consultant of Neurology and the lead for the Saudi Multiple Sclerosis Registry said, “Multiple Sclerosis is a rising concern in Saudi Arabia. It is a difficult condition to diagnose due to the complexity and variability of symptoms which may vary from one person to the other. It can be a challenging condition to live with, but new treatments have considerably improved the quality of life of people with the condition.”

“There is no cure for multiple sclerosis, however, treatment focuses on relieving the condition’s symptoms. They work to alter the course of the disease by decreasing the frequency and severity of relapses and the progression of disability. Successful management of the disease requires early intervention. The Kingdom has a young population, similar to the wider region, where the majority are below the age of 18 years old. It is expected that the incidence would increase to reflect population growth. That is why efforts need to be concentrated on driving stronger awareness initiatives across the Kingdomin addition to patient education programs that ultimately aim at enhancing patients’ adherence to treatment and enhancing their quality of life,” added Dr. Al Jumah. 

Phil Smits, Bayer Middle East’s Vice President also said, “Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis is a critical life event, however with the new treatments in hand, patients can alleviate the conditions that arise from the disease. In the field of multiple sclerosis, Bayer has grown to develop a strong commitment to patients by continuously investing to support their varied needs. We pride ourselves with more than 29 years of history in delivering data and patient insights for effective treatment. Moreover, the company has developed a 360° support system for multiple sclerosis patients which focuses on driving patient education and training needs. We have also developed autoinjectors to make the drug injection experience comfortable and more importantly, safe for patients.”

As part of its patient commitment, Bayer’s BETACONNECT™ autoinjector, designed to deliver tailored, actionable information based on patient data to provide a more personalized approach to patient support, is the first component of an innovative dose delivery system for multiple sclerosis treatment. Patients may choose to use BETACONNECTTM independently or as part of a complete software based system designed to track injection history and share important treatment information with healthcare providers.

“At Bayer, we are pleased to continue facilitating leading discussions that focus on best practices in multiple sclerosis care and management. We believe that the only way this disease can be brought under control is through the joint efforts and close collaboration of all entities across the healthcare spectrum. We are guided by a clear determination to provide sustainable solutions that place patients at the core,” added Phil Smits. 

Bayer: Science For A Better Life

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2015, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of EUR 46.3 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.3 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to