Dubai: The UAE is intensifying its efforts to increase availability of medical technologies and drugs. This key message was delivered by the UAE Ministry of Health (MoH) during the opening of a two-day conference on Wednesday.

The Ministry believes that the UAE is one of the leading countries in the region to provide innovative medicine. The belief is also internationally upheld as noted by a senior official from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The conference titled ‘Competitiveness Forum: Health Care and Access to Innovative Medicines in the UAE’ brought together senior officials from the MoH, healthcare authorities, Ministry of Economy and GCC regulatory bodies as well as representatives from the private pharmaceutical sector.

Speaking to Gulf News, professor Peter Pitts, president of the FDA’s Centre for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI), said, “The UAE has smartly figured out that by partnering with the pharmaceutical industry, it can bring innovation to the country and make it a hub of innovation.”

He said that the UAE is recognised for its speed in marketing new medicines and providing patients with the newest medical technologies. Stressing on the need for innovation in medicine, he explained that incremental innovation is more common — than one-time innovation — through which companies enhance a product or a technology.

Extending lives

“Stakeholders, governments and regulators should support innovation in healthcare — it extends peoples’ lives,” said Pitts.

Dr Amin Hussain Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for Medical Practices and Licensing at the MoH, said that innovative medicines are key drivers for growth in the healthcare sector. “The UAE is one of the leading countries, providing its residents with all kinds of medicine, including life-saving drugs. Through regulations, we will ensure that new medicines are introduced and adequate stocks are maintained for all healthcare needs.”

Dr Ola Al Ahdab, pharmaceutical consultant for registration and drug control at the MoH, told Gulf News that access to timely and advanced medicine is a top priority for the UAE government.

Chair of the conference organising committee Dr Yaqoub Haddad added, through this conference, the pharmaceutical companies and stakeholders will be able to identify strengths and weaknesses in the healthcare sectors to continue to provide access to innovative medicine.