NUPCO CEO to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Helped Raise Efficiency In Health Sector Spending
The CEO of Saudi Arabia's National Unified Procurement Company (NUPCO), Fahad Al-Shebel, said the entity has helped enhance spending efficiency over the past years, making it among the contributors to the Saudi Vision 2030.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Shebel highlighted NUPCO’s strategy in providing products and health services to its customers on time and at the right price.
NUPCO was established in 2008 and began operating in 2009, with a main objective of raising spending efficiency in purchasing medicines, devices and medical supplies, Al-Shebel said.
It is the Kingdom’s largest provider of standardized procurement services to government agencies working in the healthcare sector.
“During the past years, the company managed to enhance the efficiency of spending significantly and contributed to raising the level of quality of service provided to health authorities. We are proud to be part of the implementation of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 in terms of spending efficiency,” he underlined.
“The company also aims to improve the quality of life of citizens and residents in the country, by providing better and high-quality health services.”
Stressing that the company’s strategy was to focus on providing unified procurement services to customers in a good and fast way and to ensure the availability of the products they need, Al-Shebel said that NUPCO was always seeking to offer health services “at the right time, the right place at the right price as well.”
The company also provides supply chain services, which include storing and delivering products to hospitals and health centers.
Al-Shebel noted that NUPCO is an independent company established by royal order and operates in complete independence from the Ministry of Health.
“The Health Ministry is one of NUPCO’s most important strategic clients, as annual government purchases represent the largest proportion of the company’s work,” he remarked.
The entity is currently focusing on the public sector and its strategic plan includes a better expansion in 2022.
In this regard, Al-Shebel explained that the services cover the ministries of Health, Defense and Interior, the National Guard, specialized hospitals and medical cities, as well as all government health service providers.
The company’s performance concerning government purchases was good during 2019, according to the CEO, who noted that NUPCO’s purchases exceeded 62% of all government procurements.
“The number of beneficiaries of our services has reached 54, and there is a great expansion. During the past year, we provided our services to new clients from the government health sector,” he said.
Al-Shebel revealed that existing mechanisms relied on the development of standardized evidence and clear specifications that include accurate information and reference prices, to assist in the negotiation process with pharmaceutical or medical supplies companies.
“Building unified evidence is one of the most important mechanisms that we follow. It helps with purchasing certain products in large quantities, rather than buying separate products, which contributes to supporting negotiations with relevant companies and achieving an abundance of spending,” he explained.
Asked about the proportion of locally-made medicine in the overall purchased products, Al-Shebel said: “The percentage of local products in 2019 reached more than 23% of the total value of medicines, devices, and medical supplies.”
“We have local factories that we are proud of, and in the coming years we hope to further enhance local content,” he added.
Regarding NUPCO’s main challenges, the CEO said: “Time is the biggest challenge in supply chains, and we are working to get medicine and medical supplies to the right place in record time.”
“Raising the availability of medicine in Saudi Arabia and ensuring that the required products are available at the required moment is another goal that we are seeking to achieve,” he noted, adding that a third challenge was represented in making drug prices in the Kingdom among the lowest.