Saudi Arabia

Saudi: Pharmacies Fined for Failure to Report Shortage in Medicines

A Saudi medical regulator has imposed a fine of SR45,000 on each of six pharmacies for failing to comply with rules for dispensing registered medicines.

The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) said the penalised pharmacies had failed to make medicines available, notify an electronic tracking system linked to medicine accessibility, or inform the authority of an expected shortage or discontinuation of registered supplies.

Explaining the cases of the penalised drug stores, SFDA said its inspectors last month booked one pharmacy that failed to make registered pharmaceutical preparations available to the public; three others for failing to report an expected shortage of medicinal supplies; and two more establishments for failing to have adequate stocks for six months of all registered medicines as required by regulations.

Under Saudi law for pharmaceutical establishments, drug factories and pharmacies must have stocks meeting six-month needs and notify SFDA in case of anticipating a shortage or discontinuation of registered supplies at least sixth months in advance.

They are, moreover, obligated to suggest solutions to offset the shortage. Under this law, penalties could reach SR5 million, temporary closure for a maximum of 180 days or revocation of the operation licence.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly warned that deterrent penalties are meted out against medical fraud and dealing in fake medical equipment.

A dealer in bogus medical devices or requirements on purpose faces imprisonment of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of SR10 million, or one of both penalties.


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