The healthcare and life sciences ecosystem is witnessing significant growth in the Middle East as the GCC continues to seek economic diversification.

By Brian A. Meenagh, Sara Patel, and Lucy Tucker

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) are advancing initiatives to nurture a thriving life sciences ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In January 2024, Saudi Arabia launched its National Biotechnology Strategy, which aims to position itself as a biotech

The PDPL has broad extraterritorial scope and substantial penalties for non-compliance, with full enforcement expected to start in September.

By Brian A. Meenagh and Lucy Tucker

The Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL) is the first comprehensive data protection law in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) is expected to start full enforcement of the PDPL from 14 September 2024, after the current compliance transition period ends. SDAIA emphasised that it expects entities to take measures to achieve compliance with the PDPL by the September deadline.  

The amended PDPL diverges from international privacy laws in several areas, including personal data transfers, penalties, and breach notification.

By Brian A. Meenagh and Lucy Tucker

An amended version of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL) was published in the Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on April 7, 2023. The amended PDPL contains the same wide extra-territorial scope as the original PDPL. It applies to any processing of personal data that takes place in the Kingdom, and applies to the processing of personal data of individuals located in the Kingdom by organizations outside of the Kingdom.

The amended PDPL contains concepts and requirements similar to those in international privacy laws, such as the GDPR, including concepts, such as personal data, controllers and processors, data processing principles, certain data subject rights, and the requirement to maintain a record of processing activities. However, the PDPL diverges from international privacy laws in several important areas, notably in relation to transfers of personal data outside of the Kingdom and penalties for non-compliance.