The GCC’s central health authority has placed orders for pharmaceuticals worth $295 million in two tenders for 1994. Saudi Arabia continues to top the list of purchasers, with Qatar second, according to a report by IMS of the UK.

Saudi Arabia accounts for 73 per cent of the pharmaceuticals and vaccines purchased through tenders 16 and 9 of the health ministers’ council for GCC states. Qatar’s purchases account for nearly 10 per cent of the total value, compared with less than $2,000 in 1993.

Part of the rise in total sales is due to a new purchase policy by the GCC health authority which involves tenders running for two years, compared with the previous duration of one year.