Conference on issues in health product regulation

Singapore is trying to help Asia get better access to safe, effective and affordable medicines through a new conference that promotes collaboration in the regulation of health products.

The Centre of Regulatory Excellence (CoRE), which is part of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School of Singapore, launched its inaugural CoRE Scientific Conference 2015 yesterday. The two-day conference lets some 200 regional health product regulators, industry players and academics address issues and challenges in regulating health products, including medicines, medical devices and newly developed treatments.

At the launch of the conference yesterday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that health product regulation across Asia and the Asia-Pacific region is still relatively fragmented. This could result in approval delays and higher costs, while patients have slower access to beneficial medicines.

"This conference serves as a useful platform for participants to discuss ways to improve regulatory effectiveness, and to seek convergence in our regulatory standards where possible," Mr Gan added.

Dr Margaret Hamburg, the former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said: "Having Singapore as the home of this conference makes a lot of sense as Singapore has a demonstrated commitment to supporting biomedical research, innovation, and also sits at the gateway to the Asian region."

In another healthcare first, SingHealth and the National Healthcare Group (NHG) launched a new leadership programme for leaders of the healthcare industry and public officials to share knowledge and build networks for regional cooperation.

Some 40 participants from 12 countries are expected to attend the inaugural Temasek Foundation Healthcare Executives in Asia Leadership Programme.

Mr Malay Kumar De, a health official from India, said the conference allows him to exchange ideas with participants from other countries.

"Right now, we are collaborating with SingHealth on the training of our doctors, nurses and paramedics for our 70 critical care centres in West Bengal. I am looking forward to future collaborations and this workshop will give me ideas on which direction to go," he said.

A second run of the workshop is slated for March next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2015, with the headline 'Conference on issues in health product regulation'. Print Edition | Subscribe