Saudi Food and Drug Authority preparing e-system to track pharmaceuticals

Updated 04 June 2018
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Saudi Food and Drug Authority preparing e-system to track pharmaceuticals

  • A smartphone app will be launched to enable consumers to read the barcodes, ensure product safety, check prices and registration
  • The SFDA issued the order in the wake of a reported increase in the number of pharmaceutical products advertised on social media sites

JEDDAH: The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) is setting up an electronic system to track pharmaceuticals from production to consumption, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The aim is to track products’ distribution and ensure their availability and safety. The system will be supplied with data from barcodes on packaging. The SFDA is testing it in partnership with relevant authorities before the official launch.
After that, a smartphone app will be launched to enable consumers to read the barcodes, ensure product safety, check prices and registration details, read warnings, send comments and report side effects.
The initiative aims to tackle drug fraud, reduce the wasting of medicines, and pull a drug from the market if a warning is issued.
In April, the SFDA also ordered drug and pharmaceutical companies to refrain from advertising on social media platforms unless they have obtained a license to promote their products.
The SFDA issued the order in the wake of a reported increase in the number of pharmaceutical products advertised on social media sites.
In addition, the SFDA announced it would strictly apply penalties stipulated by the Pharmaceutical Firms Systems and Regulations if drug companies violate the decision.
Advertising material, including data and leaflets, should not propagate information that does not comply with the content and chemical properties of pharmaceutical and herbal products.


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.