How to Develop a Regulatory Strategy for the Saudi Market

As the drug regulations in Saudi Arabia become more stringent and sophisticated every year, companies planning to introduce new products into the Saudi market should no longer commence with the SFDA requirements without developing a robust regulatory strategy (RegStrat).

The concept of RegStrat is generally known and mastered by big firms; however, many still tend to initiate their regulatory projects based on repeated strategies. Others might even head to the unknown by pivoting their whole project around the submission requirement. This type of practice will eventually result in high exposure to compliance risks hence delay in product launch.

Experienced management would sense when their regulatory project is lacking an efficient strategy. Usually by noting growing regulatory difficulties down the registration road. The expected risks of a weak RegStrat vary from minor issues, that cause repetitive additions to timelines and budget, to major overlooked issues that might engender years of delay, inability to market, or profitability impact. Let alone total abortion of projects with complete loss of investments.

Therefore, developing a solid RegStart for your product registration projects is essential to avoid the above mentioned complications. Also to align your regulatory activities with the commercial objectives. Although a breakthrough innovative drug might enjoy SFDA’s priority and facilitation, it is still axiomatic to establish a reliable RegStrat to utilise invaluable returns such as:

  • Compliance assurance (Pre/post-marketing).
  • Accurate business decisions
  • Confirmed market accessibility
  • Clarity on possible regulatory impact
  • Shorter launch timelines
  • Controlled budget
  • Investment protection

At PharmaKnowl, we structured our RegStrat document in a holistic approach to include all affecting factors. It is built specifically for the Saudi market with the flexibility to adopt different types of products. It is centred around the following elements:

  • Product Specifications
  • Applicable SFDA Regulations
  • Regulatory Intelligence
  • Company objectives
  • The input of internal & external stakeholders

The RegStar document will eventually reflect the outcome of a 360 regulatory analysis on all files, entities, functions, and company activities. This is including the post-marketing phase. Its core should at least incorporate the following:

  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Regulatory Intelligence: Research similar cases, regulatory environment, product classification, applicable procedures, prescription status,..etc.
  • Pharmacovigilance: Obligations & budget.
  • Commercial
    • Primary pricing analysis and expectations
    • Regulatory impact on tenders, reimbursement, and formulary listing.
    • Permitted marketing modules
    • Revision of supply routes
  • Finance
    • Regulatory impact on profit margins
    • Detailed regulatory budget setting
  • Legal
    • IP, patent, brand status
    • Partners & Agreements
  • Operational:
    • Primary regulatory plan
    • Regulatory project timelines
    • A prioritized set of requirements

Out of the regulatory strategy, a regulatory plan with a clear course of action has to be generated and implemented within a regulatory project. It should include defined deliverables, timelines, tasks’ ownership, stakeholders, and implementation methods. Only then it becomes a day-to-day regulatory operation mission.

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