Dubai: The UAE leads in health sector research and development (R&D) in the region. a top official of the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) said.

Presenting his keynote address at the first clinical research forum for GCC and the region, Dr Amin Hussain Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary of Public Health Policy and Licensing Sector, said: “The UAE conducted 57 clinical trials in 2018 representing 6.2 people per million of our total population, which is the highest figure in the region. Saudi Arabia and Egypt too conducted around 57 clinical trials, but in proportion to their population the representation is much lower than UAE. Research and good clinical practices are a crucial element of health care in the UAE and we are committed to it. It is important to integrate the academic and clinical sides of health care for best results.”

Giving an idea of the challenge and time taken for scientific research and clinical trials, Dr Amiri said that globally the pharmaceutical industry spends nearly $165 billion (Dh606 billion) in R&D. “As per World Health Organisation (Who) reports, only five in 5,000 compounds that are pre-clinically tested actually make it to human testing, and only one of those five are ultimately deemed safe enough to reach pharmacy shelves,” he revealed.

The two-day clinical forum organised by MoHAP, in collaboration with the Al Baraha Hospital and pharmaceutical instrument manufacturer Pharmag, will discuss clinical research and ethics issues related to a variety of diseases and conditions which have ongoing trials and innovations underway in the GCC and other countries.

Dr Abdulla Al Khayat, chairman of the central research ethics committee at MoHAP, paediatric cardiology consultant and CEO of Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, welcomed the delegates. In his speech, Dr Khayat said the true measure of society’s evolution were its scientific achievements that contributes to the development and education of society.

Dr Suad Hannawi, deputy chairman of the central research ethics committee, presented the event.