Taiwan's regulatory system is comparable to that in America and Western Europe. In 2007, a health-technology assessment system was introduced for the pricing and reimbursement of new drugs. Taiwan also established its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2010 with a clear objective to establish a regulatory environment with drug-review mechanisms of international standards to run pharmaceutical affairs. Looking ahead to 2014, the agency commits to implementing the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention Scheme (PIC/S) to help improve the quality of local medicines and upgrade production facilities to enable quicker penetration of its medicines into foreign markets.
"The setting up of a center for pharmaceutical regulatory science in Taiwan's NCKU, perhaps the first such center in Asia Pacific, mirrors the increasing importance that regulatory science is gaining among the regulatory agencies globally," says William Lee, senior director and head of regulatory strategy of the strategic drug development Asia unit at Quintiles.Kao adds, "Its establishment is significant because it paves a clearer direction for Taiwan's pharmaceutical and healthcare industry as a whole. Overall, western and local industry players are positive in regard to this new center and believe that NCKU is taking a first step toward improving the pharmaceutical and healthcare landscape in Taiwan. The center, through its project base case studies with school professors, industry physicians, and related experts, aims to open up the communication between regulators and consumers. By its goal for transparent pharmaceutical management, the quality standard in the industry and the accessibility of information would positively improve."
According to Geeta Dhanoa, Frost and Sullivan's associate director of healthcare practice for Asia Pacific, "the preparation of the whitepaper on food and drug policy and nonprescription medicines management policy is the priority for the center, which will serve as a national platform for the government, the academia, and the industry to integrate the resources and talents." However, these initiatives are in the initial stage and the effect will be seen after the formalization of the new drug-pricing policy and reimbursement scheme. Hopefully, they would receive positive response from industry players to eliminate the regulatory hurdles so that drug registration can be improved, and to provide a conducive environment for the market participants to grow, says Dhanoa.