Medicinal Products Regulatory Support in Saudi Arabia


The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) is the key drug Regulatory authority in Saudi Arabia. The drug department of the SFDA is responsible for handling and licensing the manufacture, import, export, distribution, promotion, and advertising of medicinal products. The SFDA is also responsible for assessing the safety, efficacy, and quality of medicinal products, issuing marketing authorizations, and monitoring the quality & safety of the marketed medicinal products.

Medicinal Product Classification

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), medicinal products are classified into the following categories:

  • New Drug/New Chemical Entity
  • Generic Drugs 
  • Biological Drugs

Medicinal Product Registration

Below is a brief description of the pharma products’ registration process:

A) Market Authorization

The process of submitting a new Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) consists of the following phases:

Phase 1

Step 1: Online Registration on the Drug Establishments National Registry (DENR)

The applicant should register online on the DENR to get a username and password, which enables the applicant to log in and avail all the electronic services of the drug sector.

Step 2: Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) Submission:

  • The applicant shall apply through the Saudi Drug Registration (SDR) system to fill out the application form and pay the fees.
  • Upload the eCTD file to the system through the SDR system portal. A soft copy of the eCTD should be submitted in three (03) CDs labeled as per the SFDA guideline, along with the hard copies of the original documents (like the cover letter, the Certificate of a Pharmaceutical Product (CPP), and the application form).

Phase 2

Step 1: Validation

The product file will be validated on technical and business bases to ensure that the applicant fulfills the requirement.

Step 2 - Assessment, Testing and Inspection

The relevant departments will evaluate the MAA to assess quality, safety, and efficacy, along with the onsite GMP inspection and sample analysis by the SFDA central laboratories.

Step 3 - Pricing

The Pricing Department will review the product’s price according to the “SFDA's pricing rules.”

Step 4 - Product Licensing

The Registration Committee will review the registration request for approval.

B) Verification and Abridged Procedure

Verification Process

This process will be applicable if the product has been approved and marketed by both the European Medicines Agency and the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).

Abridged Process

This process will be applicable if the product has been approved and marketed by either the EMA or the US FDA.

C) Waiver of Onsite GMP Inspection

Onsite GMP inspection can be waived if the manufacturing facility is approved by the Gulf Cooperation Council – Drug Registration.

D) Importance of Local Entity for a Foreign Manufacturer

For any foreign medicinal product manufacturer, it is mandatory to have an authorized representative in Saudi Arabia for administrative support and for Regulatory communication with the SFDA.

E) Importation of Non-Registered Product

SFDA allows the importation of non-registered products for the cases mentioned below:

  • Essential drugs
  • Drugs for which substitutes are not available in the Saudi market

However, before importation, the local agent must obtain an import permit for each shipment from the Agency./p>

Product Maintenance & Compliance

Sr. No




Validity for Registration Certificate

Five (05) years from the date of registration


Renewal of Registration Certificate

The renewal application should be submitted six (06) months before the expiration of the existing registration certificate


Post-approval Changes (Variations)

Any change of registered medicine should be sent to the SFDA with relevant documents on a case-by-case basis

Freyr Expertise

Freyr is a proven expert in Saudi pharma Regulatory services and offers the following:

  • End-to-end Pharmaceutical Product Registration
  • Authorized Local Agent Support
  • GMP Support
  • Regulatory Affairs Consulting
  • Dossier Gap Analysis as per the SFDA Regulatory Requirements
  • Preparation of Gap Analysis Report and Remediation Plan
  • Pharmaceutical Dossier Preparation and Submission to the SFDA
  • Query Support Management until Approval
  • Pharmaceutical Life Cycle Management Support
  • Ad-hoc Regulatory Affairs Consultation
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