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.


Jeddah Summer Festival is now ‘on the map’

New events were presented for the first time at the 20th edition of Jeddah Summer Festival this year. (SPA)
Updated 23 July 2018
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Jeddah Summer Festival is now ‘on the map’

  • Jeddah Summer Festival gave a variety of options to investors in the tourism sector to expand investment

JEDDAH: Jeddah Summer Festival drew to a close on Saturday evening, boosting Saudi investment in domestic tourism through cultural and entertainment activities, theater performances, folk art, sea shows, shopping, sporting events and poetry evenings.
The month-long festival was the result of intensive efforts from the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI). Major commercial centers participated in a competition for 500 awards worth SR2 million ($0.53 billion).
JCCI General Secretary Hassan bin Ibrahim Dahlan said Jeddah Summer Festival “is now on the map of regional tourism festivals.”
Dahlan said the organizers of these events were keen to highlight the cultural and civilizational dimension of the Makkah region in general and Jeddah, in particular, to make a qualitative leap in domestic tourism in line with the Vision 2030.
New events were presented for the first time at the 20th edition of Jeddah Summer Festival this year.
He also pointed out that the Jeddah Summer Festival gave a variety of options to investors in the tourism sector to expand investment in the marketing and entertainment sector.