Supporting COVID-19 screening efforts in KSA
While global stock markets are facing noticeable declines in their indices, bringing the world at the edge of the biggest economic crisis since World War II, a ray of hope is seen in health care in general, and in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals in particular.
It is anticipated that these sectors will be some of the most attractive to invest in for the foreseeable future.
Saudi pharma manufacturing holds an important position in achieving the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The regulatory body, local industry players and global companies have realized the importance of this initiative, and are working towards the strengthening of localized pharmaceutical manufacturing. Around 20 percent of the pharma market is locally manufactured, with the rest imported from mainly from the US, Europe and Japan.
It is worth noting that the Saudi Public Investment (PIF) has already participated in the local pharma sector through its shareholding in the National Unified Procurement Company for Medical Supplies (NUPCO), a company established for the purpose of standardizing the procurement activities of government health entities in Saudi Arabia.
Furthermore, the PIF is aiming to localize the pharmaceutical industry and the assembly of medical devices and equipment. With the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic affecting the entire world, I am sure this objective is a priority for the PIF.
As a next step, the health care sector in Saudi Arabia should focus on research and development capabilities especially in association with the major pharmaceuticals players in the world. Currently, there are few research centers that are involved in studying COVID-19, such as the research center of microbiology at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, in addition to the efforts made by the Ministry of Health.
Since the beginning of this pandemic, the government started an initiative called “Kulana Masoul” which means “we are all responsible.” It has caused a big shift and positive impact in the attitudes and lifestyles of people across the Kingdom, aiding the comprehensive efforts exerted by the Ministry of Health and others.
In line with this responsibility and cooperation between the public and private sector, we at BMG Financial Group, through our social responsibility arm BMG Foundation, with its “our health our crown” awareness campaign, together with AcedrA Pharmaceuticals Company, have started approaching leading German biomedical companies and research centers to assemble state-of-the-art mobile screening centers. With their positions outside hospitals and public areas, these centers will support the government’s efforts in performing COVID-19 tests for the masses while protecting hospital staff and other employees.
Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.