(MEBG) - The Director General of Health Affairs stated in a local newspaper that Saudi Arabia's annual consumption of medicines was estimated at $1.06 billion for 1999, though the volume of medicines purchased annually by the Saudi Ministry of Health exceeds $400 million.
Annual medicine imports of the Saudi National Guard hospitals, military and private sector hospitals reach up to $606 million. The director added that the Saudi government supports the private sector to invest in establishing medicine production facilities and in developing medical plants. He argued that locally produced medicines have the same quality as imported ones, due to the existence of statutes which ensure the safety and effectiveness of a medicinal product prior to its registration with the Saudi Ministry of Health for marketing purposes.
International companies wishing to introduce drugs and pharmaceuticals or herbal medicines must register them with the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health prior to placing them on the market. The registration must be done through a local Saudi agent, and the duration of the process varies from six to 18 months.
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