Saudi Arabia accounts for two-thirds of the GCC population and is the largest healthcare market in the region. While it accounts for two-thirds of the population, it accounts for only 54% of GCC's health expenditure.
The healthcare system in Saudi Arabia has undergone significant transformation in the last decade. The Vision 2030 document aims at improving health, health care, and value.
Saudi Arabia can be considered a welfare state, and the government offers free healthcare services to the citizens. However, with the increase in ex-pats, the government is considering that providing free healthcare services for an extended period is not sustainable. The government aims to push for more involvement of private entities in healthcare. The government aims to achieve universal insurance coverage to provide better healthcare services.
Financing of healthcare services:
Public spending is the primary source of revenues for healthcare spending. The government makes nearly 68% of the spending, and the government is aiming to reduce the share with the involvement of private parties.
The Ministry of Health is responsible for financing, controlling, and managing healthcare services in the country. A defined budget is allocated to healthcare in the annual budget.
In addition to the health budget, government organizations receive funds from the Ministry of Finance for healthcare. Some organizations include the Ministry of Defence, National Guards Health Affairs, and ARAMCO hospital.
There is a Compulsory Employer-Based Health Insurance (CEBHI), which primarily covers individuals, Saudis, and private companies. With the introduction of CEBHI, the out-of-pocket expenditure in Saudi Arabia has significantly reduced.
DELIVERY OF HEALTHCARE SERVICES
The Ministry of Health (MoH) primarily delivers healthcare services through a comprehensive system. The citizens are not satisfied with the delivery of services at public healthcare centers. Because of this, the government is pushing for more private entities' involvement, both providers and financiers. The government also provides free healthcare services to the pilgrims who visit during the Hajj season.
There is a need for more professionals, which further challenges healthcare services. The government aims to use e-health services to address some challenges.
Healthcare services are provided at three levels, primary, secondary, and tertiary.
Government services are provided to all Saudi Arabia citizens and foreign workers who work in government organizations.
DRUG APPROVALS AND PRICING
The Drug Sector in Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA) approves drug products. The pricing department is involved in determining pharmaceuticals' prices, and the approved price will be forwarded to the Registration Committee.
Puteh et al., Renewal of Healthcare Funding Systems by National Health Insurance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (NHI), Haya Saudi J Life Sci, Nov 2020; 5(11): 236-245
SFDA's Regulatory Framework for Drugs Approval Version 6.2