Hussain Abdulrahman Al-Omar, MSc, PhD, Advisor, Center of Health Technology Assessment, Ministry of Health and Associate Professor of Pharmacoeconomics and Pharmaceutical Policy and Director of Health Technology Assessment Unit, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is re-designing its entire health system to promote population health to mitigate the impact of the ageing population and chronic diseases under its Vision 2030 initiative. The Vision 2030 strategy is the government’s response to the changing needs of the country’s economy, which is moving away from reliance on hydrocarbons to an emphasis on the knowledge sector. Oil price volatility has been an additional catalyst that has accelerated the transformation process, with steps needed to maintain the country’s fiscal balance as income from the oil sector falls.
Through its Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is seeking to become a world leader in all areas, including healthcare. It has already identified that its medical and pharmaceutical market is affected by a number of drivers, some of which are its population being the fastest growing and aging population in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), increasing chronic disease prevalence and a growing number of new technologies being registered every year through the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA). Many of these new technologies bring promising health outcomes, but may be costly and need to be paid for via innovative payment models if they can fulfill the following: financial sustainability of health system; patients access to more innovative and effective medications; and conditions for innovation that matters to take place and new models of health system funding such as capitation and population health which seeks to balance resources allocation with the relative costs of providing care to defined population groups. Increasing the availability of new technologies, expansion in coverage and clinical demand will need to be accommodated within a more controlled budget environment.
The introduction of the Center of Health Technology Assessment in Saudi Arabia can support better outcomes through the delivery of innovative, value-based population health as part of Vision 2030. This will impact Saudi Arabia overall as well as the Saudi healthcare system in several ways, including but not limited to: establishing evidence-based, equitable care to standardize and improve the quality of care; reducing disparities across populations and settings of care via a robust, transparent methods; enabling optimal patient outcomes by supporting evidence-based clinical choices that offer the best patient outcomes and quality of life; supporting healthcare system sustainability by fostering the evidence-based, rational utilization of technologies that enable optimal, value-based use of available resources and support health system sustainability; and enabling innovation in health by promoting appropriate use of innovation to ensure that state-of-the-art technologies are identified and approved, rapidly reaching the patients who need them.
1- Al-Omar HA, Aljuffali IA, Sola-Morales O. Value Drivers for Pharmaceutical Products in Health Technology Assessment (HTA) in Saudi Arabia: Results from a Capacity Building, Multi-Stakeholder Workshop. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal. Volume 29, Issue 9, September 2021, Pages 946-954.
2- Al-Omar HA, Alghannam HH, Aljuffali IA. Exploring the Status and Views of Managed Entry Agreements in Saudi Arabia: Mixed-Methods Approach. Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research, 21:4, 837-845.
3- Al-Omar HA, Attuwaijri AA, Aljuffali IA. Pharmaceutical Companies' Views on a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Entity in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal. Volume 28, Issue 6, June 2020, Pages 662-668.
4- Al-Omar HA, Attuwaijri AA, Aljuffali IA. What local experts expect from a health technology assessment (HTA) entity in Saudi Arabia: workshop conclusions. Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res. 2019 Apr 29:1-6. doi: 10.1080/14737167.2019.1610398. PubMed PMID: 31032687.