Saudi Arabia is preparing to announce a plan to meet demand for new drugs as it seeks to stay ahead of the market.
The kingdom is spending $2 billion a year on research, development and commercialisation of drugs, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.
Saudi Arabia is aiming to boost the amount of available drugs to 500 million by 2020, from 500 million today, and to develop a market for 100 billion by 2030, it said.
“We are also making an effort to expand the supply of drugs for the benefit of the citizens of Saudi Arabia,” a ministry official told AFP.
The Saudi government is also expanding a nationwide pilot project to test new drugs in public hospitals to ensure they are safe and effective.
Saudi doctors and pharmacists are required to take a drug test before prescribing drugs to their patients, and a Saudi official said the government is increasing the number of such tests every two months.
The government has already introduced a new system that makes it possible for patients to pay for the test, with a fee set at 5,000 Saudi riyals ($100).
The government says about 30 percent of the drugs tested so far are safe for use in the public health sector.