Close to 5.5 m will have diabetes in Saudi Arabia by 2030

Updated 10 October 2012
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Close to 5.5 m will have diabetes in Saudi Arabia by 2030

A leading pharmaceutical company warned that the prevalence of diabetes has climbed steeply in Saudi Arabia during the last few years, and over 19 percent of the adult population is suffering from this disease at the moment. “The Kingdom, where around 2.8 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, has the seventh highest rate in the world in terms of diabetes incidence,” said Dr. Wail Al-Qassim, general manager at Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD yesterday.
He pointed out that the total number of people suffering from diabetes would come close to 5.5 million by 2030, if the incidence continues to increase at the current rate.
Al-Qassim said that an estimated 1.2 million Saudi citizens live with the disease but are yet to be diagnosed. He expressed his concerns over the growing prevalence of diabetes in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. He said that more than SR 12 billion was spent every year on diabetes in Saudi Arabia. On a regional level, about SR 21 billion is spent on diabetes health care every year.
“We strongly believe in the need to raise awareness about diseases,” said A-Qassim, adding that MSD has a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Health, particularly in the area of diabetes. Its objective is to support health care providers’ efforts to treat chronic diseases and to stop or slow down the increased prevalence of diabetes by identifying current challenges. These initiatives are designed to increase patient’s awareness, empower patients to ensure self-management and improve disease management, he added.
Asked about the regulatory provisions of the GCC countries, when it comes to the importation, registration and approval of various drugs, he pointed out that the Gulf states, including the Kingdom, were working to modernize the regulatory and registration systems to harmonize them with international standards. “However, these reforms are still ongoing and we expect further enhancement of the processes leading to earlier access to newer therapies,” he said.
Al-Qassim said the registration and approval process of any new product could take up to two to three years from the submission of the file. This is a long period when Saudi Arabia is compared to other countries in the region, he noted. The Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA) is looking at the possibility to clear a drug within six to nine months for sale in the Saudi market, he added.
The whole process to develop a new prescription medicine is very expensive and tiring, said Al-Qassim. “It costs about $ 800 million (SR 3,000 million) to research and develop a new medicine,” he said. But, only one out of a million potential new medicines screened by scientists at such high cost will ever make it to the pharmacist’s shelf, he noted.


Saudi Arabia's KSRelief distributes assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon

KSRelief distributed assistance to Syrian refugees. (SPA/file)
Updated 21 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia's KSRelief distributes assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon

  • KSRelief seeks to ensure that the living conditions of Syrian refugees are in accordance with international specifications
  • The center also distributed 3,500 cartons of dates in the villages of Izzala Al-Jumah in Yemen

JEDDAH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) distributed humanitarian aid including birth kits, personal bags and baby blankets to Syrian female refugees staying in Osman Hospital and Central Hospital in Kattermaya, Kharoub province of Lebanon on Friday.

This distribution is within the framework of the assistance provided by the center for displaced Syrians and refugees in neighboring countries. 

KSRelief seeks to ensure that the living conditions of Syrian refugees are in accordance with international specifications through various relief programs. 

Earlier, winter blankets, jackets, jumpers, hats and other items were distributed to meet the basic needs of refugee families.

The center also distributed 3,500 cartons of dates in the villages of Izzala Al-Jumah in Al-Mukha directorate in Taiz governorate, benefiting 21,000 people.

In addition, 36 trucks with 469,483 kg of relief, shelter and medicines crossed Al-Wadiaa border on Thursday evening as part of the KSRelief plan to help Yemenis.

Of this total, 26 trucks with 500 food baskets, weighing 375 tons, in addition to 43,173 kg of shelter items, will be heading to Maareb province, and ten trucks carrying 42,221 kg of shelter items and 9.89 tons of medications will go to Aden.

On Thursday, the Bahraini Royal Charity Foundation and the Khalifa bin Zayed Foundation for Humanitarian Affairs signed an MoU for the establishment of the Bahrain Health Center in Aden, Yemen, at a cost of $2 million, in the presence of Ahmed bin Ali Al-Bayez, assistant general supervisor of operations and programs at KSRelief, and a number of officials. SPA, Jeddah