Diabetes drug Avandia to be available in Saudi market

RIYADH: The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) is to clear the sale and use of GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug Avandia in Saud Arabia shortly.

“There is no scientific basis to ban Avandia as done by SFDA,” said Dr. Khalid Al-Rubeaan, director of the Diabetes Center at King Saud University (KSU), here recently. “I think it was a wrong decision … and I hope the SFDA will reverse the decision shortly.”

Avandia, which is for people with Type 2 diabetes, makes the cells of the body more sensitive to the action of insulin.

Dr. Al-Rubeaan was speaking during the inaugural function of the Association of Indian Researchers and Scientists (AIRS) here at the Riyadh Palace Hotel.

The high-profile event was chaired by Rajeev Shahare, deputy chief of Indian mission; while it was anchored by Dr. Dilshad Ahmed, AIRS founder general secretary.

At the very outset, Dr. Mishabul Arifin, AIRS founder president, spelled out the aims and objectives of this new scientific association and also declared the names of the office-bearers.

A senior doctor Javed Mosarrat and a well-known neurologist Dr. Anis Ahmed were named as AIRS advisors.

Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Badshah and Dr. Asaduddin, two highly-qualified members of the Indian community, have been appointed as vice presidents together with a seven-member executive panel. The participants in the seminar, especially Al-Rubeaan and Shahare, evinced keen interest to boost cooperation in the health sector, mainly in diabetes control and prevention, between Riyadh and New Delhi.

Referring to the growing number of diabetics in Saudi Arabia, Al-Rubeaan said that the prevalence rate of diabetes in the Kingdom is five times more than the Western countries.

“We are touching the pandemic level,” said the Saudi diabetes expert, while warning and exhorting Saudi government agencies and people to exert more efforts to prevent the disease.

Referring to the initiatives taken by Saudi government, Al-Rubeaan said that the Ministry of Health had finalized plans to set up specialized diabetes centers to treat patients.

The ministry is also launching a prevention program for community in which about 2,000 primary healthcare centers will be networked to conduct screening and awareness programs, he added. According to one estimate, 27 percent of Saudis suffer from diabetes and the disease is spreading alarmingly. Speaking on his part, Shahare said that India, which is home to the largest number of diabetes patients in the world, would like to cooperate with Saudi Arabia and share expertise in this field.

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