RIYADH: Localization of Saudi Arabia’s fast-growing, multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry will top the agenda at a high-profile food and drug conference in Riyadh next month.
Regulation of pharmacy stores, strategic procurement of medicines, and food contaminants in Arab countries will be discussed at the three-day conference, organized by the Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA), beginning on Sept. 25.
“The SFDA conference and exhibition will be the largest gathering of experts and professionals working in pharmaceutical and food sectors within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030,” Dr. Nasser Fahad Bin Dhim, an SFDA consultant, said on Sunday.
More than 150 speakers and 200 local and international exhibitors will discuss key issues facing the food and drug sectors. About 70 lectures to create awareness among visitors to the exhibition will be organized on the conference sidelines.
The SFDA, which explores tighter regulatory provisions to protect public health, has set Dec. 31 as a deadline for restaurants and cafes to comply with instructions to display ingredients and calorie counts on their products, including meals and beverages.
The authority said it will take legal action against food outlets that fail to comply.
Dhim said the conference will promote the exchange of ideas and encourage collaboration to promote public health.
Fayadh Dandashi, assistant deputy minister of health, will speak on regulation of pharmacy stores, while Yasser Joharji, CEO of the giant Al-Nahdi Pharmacy, will discuss sales of pharmaceuticals.
Other topics include pharmaceutical manufacturing in the Kingdom, monitoring of food contaminants in Arab countries, use of dietary supplements by Saudi women, camel mortality due to contaminated feed, and the prevalence of smoking in Saudi society.
Leading experts and professionals from countries including Denmark, Turkey, Pakistan, China, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Egypt and Ukraine will take part in the event.
The conference has added significance in view of the rapid growth of the Kingdom’s food and pharmaceutical sectors.
According to a BMI Research report, Saudi Arabia’s pharmaceutical market will be worth SR36 billion ($9.6 billion) in the next five years and is growing at an annual rate of 4.9 percent.