Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) joins Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S), which aims at harmonizing inspection procedures worldwide, facilitating cooperation and networking between pertinent authorities, and regional and international organizations. SFDA's acceded to PIC/S after having fulfilled all the requirements and standards required for membership and gained the approval of member states during the PIC/S meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 11-12, 2023. Saudi Arabia became the first Arab country to be admitted to PIC/S.
PIC/S presently comprises 54 authorities specialized in inspecting medicinal products for human or veterinary use, from all over the world, that seek to standardize the procedures of the Regulatory Authorities in the field of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP(.
PIC/S conducts its work by having developed common standards in the field of inspection of pharmaceutical factories and global detection program, and by providing training opportunities to inspectors. It also aims at facilitating cooperation and networking between competent authorities, and regional and international organizations, thus increasing mutual confidence. This is reflected in PIC/S' mission which is to lead the international development, implementation and maintenance of harmonized GMP standards and quality systems of inspectorates in the field of medicinal products.
PIC/S membership enables the SFDA to be an approved reference in the field of inspection of pharmaceutical factories. Furthermore, it enhances the efficiency and quality of manufacturing practices of local factories and facilitate exportation as a result of greater confidence of PIC/S member states in the local inspection performed by SFDA.
This membership will contribute to developing and raising inspectors' efficiency through many specialized training programs held by PIC/S periodically, and exchanging inspection information and reports, which in return will help use resources in an optimal manner by targeting high-risk factories through inspection visits. It also helps standardize, at state level, the inspection procedures of pharmaceutical manufacturing practices and activate the rapid alert system at member state level.
SFDA's accession to PIC/S is one of the strategic projects of the SFDA’s third strategic plan. It is in line with SFDA’s desire to join global organizations in order to cope with developments in the field of medicine manufacturing and benefit from international inspectorates’ expertise.