Saudi bans purchase of medicine
on Internet

JEDDAH — Medicine will not be made available on the Internet, according to the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA).

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Published: Wed 27 Oct 2010, 8:35 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:28 AM

It has refused to permit the purchase of medication over the Internet, reiterating that the law “does not allow the buying of medical formulations or medicines through the Internet or via telephone”.

However, Saleh Bawazir, SFDA executive vice-president for medicine said, “The SFDA is prepared to grant persons who require medicines unavailable on the Saudi market permission to import, as long as the item description officially meets SFDA regulations.”

He warned that medications traded over the Internet were of suspect quality and origin, saying that “50 per cent of them are adulterated.”

Bawazir was giving an overview of medicine sector regulations at a meeting in Riyadh on Monday with Margaret Chan, head of World Health Organisation (WHO).

They also discussed on WHO using the SFDA”s experience in medicine factories inspections.

“The SFDA has in the last three years had successes unmatched by other countries in a decade,” he said.

Muhammad Al Kanhal, SFDA executive vice president, had previously presented to a WHO delegation an overview of the Authority’s monitoring of food products, medicinal products and equipment, as well as the size of domestic foodstuff production and imports into the Kingdom.

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