Medicines policy issues for Saudi Arabia: priorities and model

Ahmer Hameed Mirza, Syed Shahzad Hasan, Faris El-Dahiyat, Zaheer Ud Din Babar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has a population of 32.6 million in 2018, with a growth rate of 2.65% per annum. In World Health Organization's ranking, WHO has ranked Saudi Arabia at 26 among 191 countries for the performance in overall health care and was commended as a model for other countries. The public sector is currently the main provider of health care and is mainly funded by the government. The government has initiated a process to include the private sector by launching the National Transformation Program (NTP) in 2016. The objectives of NTP 2020 are to expand the role of the private sector from 25 to 35% by 2020; to increase the number of internationally accredited hospitals; and to decrease the percentage of smoking and obesity by establishing a strategy focused on preventive medicine and advocate for a healthy lifestyle and wellness. The country major challenges to health care include an ageing population, sedentary lifestyles, growing demand for healthcare services and changing disease patterns. This article describes the need to build a conceptual model and the future directions for medicines policy in the country. The model is needed to narrate and document the set of challenges with regard to workforce, professional development, human and health services for the pharmaceutical and medicines sector. A conceptual model could aid to build and identify priority medicines policy issues. The model describes stakeholder involvement, including government, policymakers, industry, academics and consumers who could be involved in the policy development. Interaction between these stakeholders, as well as thematic document analysis, could lead to identifying some of the future health and medicines policy challenges in the country. There challenges could include the use of new biotechnological products, dose tailoring, funding of high-cost medicines, accessibility of services and supporting health economic and pharmacoinformatics research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-445
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research
Issue number4
Early online date7 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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