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Medical mistakes and incorrect medication prescriptions are an international problem affecting public health world-wide, and a significant factor in rising health care costs. In fact, a conservative average of both the United State's Institute of Medicine and Health Grades reports indicates that there have been between 400,000-1.2 million error-induced deaths during 1996–2006 in the United States alone.

There is a general consensus that many such mistakes can be avoided, but there is a dearth of local studies that show the extant of damages due to these mistakes and the means of avoiding them.

In response, the Medication Safety Research Chair was established in November 2008 in KSU’s College of Pharmacy, to study damages resulting from issuing wrong prescriptions and to implement programs to avert these damages. The Chair is considered a core for a research and application effort to achieve the safe use of medications and bolster medication security in Saudi Arabia in view of achieving the safe use of medication. The Chair also aims to launch programs in medication safety and train specialists in this domain and raise public awareness of the problem.

The Chair will cooperate with international experts to establish practical programs to reduce medical mistakes and spread awareness of medications’ side effects in Saudi Arabia to reduce the damages of misuse.

Established in 1959, two years after the founding of King Saud University (formerly named as Riyadh University), The College of Pharmacy included four departments: Pharmaceutics, Pharmacology, Pharmacognosy and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Later, a fifth department was added: the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, to which the Medication Safety Research Chair is affiliated.

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