SFDA to adopt new measures to control illegal medicines


Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) will take several steps to prevent the illegal entry and sales of medicines in the local market through a new monitoring system.

SFDA's Chief Executive Officer Dr. Hisham Al-Jath'i revealed the new measures during an annual conference of the Kingdom's drug control authority in Riyadh last week.

He said all medicine boxes must have a bar code, irrespective of whether they are manufactured locally or imported from abroad. He said this would establish a highly efficient system to prevent the sale of illegal medicines.

Al-Jath'i pointed out that the project would be launched soon as planned within the National Transformation Program.

Al-Jath'i has said the medicine pricing in the Kingdom undergoes a rigorous process of revision through a specialized committee that has representatives from many sectors. The committee determines the prices of medicines according to specific scientific standards.

"The prices of medicine in some countries are left to the market forces of supply and demand, but in the Kingdom we see medicines as very important to sustain human life, and therefore it is difficult to leave their pricing open to market sentiments," said Al-Jath'i.

"The SFDA has participated in the National Transition Program with a number of initiatives. In addition, the authority has launched its 2017 strategy, which includes 45 initiatives. The authority has worked to improve services for the business sector, such as reducing the time required to review the registration of drugs by 68 percent despite a 21 percent increase in registration requests. The SFDA also launched a business support center," said Al-Jath'i.

He added: "This year, the authority launched a healthy food strategy and improved supervision of the local markets. We established a research center that supports supervisory decisions based on scientific grounds."

In his speech to the conference, Minister of Health and Chairman of the Board of Directors of SFDA Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah highlighted the importance of raising the standard of healthy living, quality of food and medicines, efficiency and safety of medical devices, and the need to support the national industry for food and medicines.

Al-Rabiah expressed his optimism for a better future in the organization and control of food and drugs in light of the great cooperation between the SFDA and private companies in this field.