Health & Life Sciences Update: Thailand Looks to Amend the 2002 National Health Security Act

Health & Life Sciences Update | June 9, 2017
Authors: Shay Wester, Ying Hui Tng, Hai Pham, Brian Ong 
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 


The Health and Life Sciences Committee is looking to set up a meeting with Indonesia's Ministry of Health to discuss registration and procurement issues related to the e-catalogue. This meeting will be open to all Health and Life Sciences committee members, including both the pharmaceutical and medical devices companies. The meeting date is targeted to be next week or the week after. Specific dates to be confirmed. Interested parties please email Ying Hui Tng at yhtng@usasean.org or Shaveen Sharma at ssharma@usasean.org
 

June 21-23: Thailand Business Mission (Bangkok, Thailand) 

Registration for the Thailand Business Mission is now closed, but all members are invited to join the Thailand Committee call on June 12, 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM EDT, featuring a briefing from the Honorable Glyn Davies, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand. Please click here to register for the call. For more information, please contact Matt Solomon at msolomon@usasean.org
 

July 25-27: Philippines Business Mission (Manila, Philippines) 

For more information, please contact Riley Smith at rsmith@usasean.org
 

July 31: ASEAN Secretariat Business Mission (Jakarta, Indonesia) 

The Council is now registering senior executives for its annual ASEAN Secretariat Business Mission, taking place on July 31 in Jakarta. Click here to register. Registeration deadline is July 17. For more information, please contact Matt Solomon at msolomon@usasean.org or Mario Masaya at mmasaya@usasean.org.  
 

August 1-3: Indonesia Business Mission (Jakarta, Indonesia) 

Please save the date for the annual business mission to Indonesia. Invitation and registration details to follow. Please contact Artha Sirait at asirait@usasean.org for more information or to express interest.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Thailand Looks to Amend the 2002 National Health Security Act
Thailand's Office of the Council of State is reviewing the 2002 National Health Security Act, potentially changing 14 areas. Some areas of revision include: broadening the definition of "public health services"; financial support that the National Health Security Office (NHSO) receives, and prices set by the committee on public health quality and service improvement. The government said the changes aim to tackle the challenges NHSO has been facing in ensuring the sustainability of the Universal Health Coverage scheme. Public consultation on the draft National Health Security Bill is currently being held - comments can be provided online via www.lawamendment.go.th until June 18. There will also be public hearings held in Songkhla province (June 10), Chang Mai (June 11), Khon Kaen (June 17) and Bangkok (June 18). A public consultation with industry experts will be held June 20 and 21. 

36.2% of Children in ASEAN are malnourished
In Save the Children’s first End of Childhood Index, data for 172 countries were compared and assessed on where the most and fewest children are missing out on childhood. The Index focused on a set of lifechanging events that signal the disruption of childhood. It ranked 172 countries based on where childhood is most intact and where it is most eroded. The indicators used to measure the end of childhood are: under-5 mortality, malnutrition that stunts growth, out-of-school children, child labour, early marriage, adolescent births, displacement by conflict and child homicide. Based on data collected from 2011 – 2016, an average of 36.2% of children from aged 0-59 months in Southeast Asia area malnourished. The prevalence of malnutrition in the region is higher than the world (23.2%) and East Asia and Pacific (10.2%). Individual ASEAN countries are ranked as follow: Thailand had 16.3% of children within that age group suffering from malnutrition, followed by Malaysia (17.7%), Brunei (19.7%), Vietnam (24.9%), Myanmar (29.2%), Philippines (30.3%), Cambodia (32.4%), Indonesia (36.4%) and Lao (43.8%). There was no data available for Singapore. Further details of the survey can be assessed here.

Indonesia’s New Regulation Promoting Local Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries
Indonesian minister of health, Nila Moeloek, signed Regulation 17/2017 on February 27, 2017, which will promote development in the nation’s pharmaceutical and medical device industries. The Regulation regarding Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Industries Development Action Plans is non-binding but presents the governments’ aims to:

  • Promote both industries so that they can independently produce medicines, raw materials and medical equipment to fulfill national needs and for export purposes;
  • Establish, preserve and apply pharmaceutical product and medical device standards;
  • Increase the use of local pharmaceutical products and locally produced medical devices;
  • Revitalise the industries' technological capabilities and optimise the promotion of new capacities; and
  • Encourage new investments
  • For the Pharmaceutical industry, the government encourages the industry to transform into a research-based industry covering: R&D, clinical trials, formulation, manufacturing, distribution, and export

Singapore reveals the Health IT Master Plan (HITMAP)
At Singapore’s National IT Summit, where stakeholders gather to share and discuss IT strategy in healthcare, Health Minister Mr. Gan Kim Yong revealed the Health IT Master Plan (HITMAP) that has been guiding the healthcare’s sector IT programmes since 2014. Minister Gan said in his speech on May 30 that this is in recognition that IT can potentially change the landscape of the healthcare sector when in the past IT played a mostly supportive role in healthcare. The HITMAP outlines seven transformation programme: population profiling, population enablement, prevention and continuity of care, provider care and operations excellence, healthcare financial excellence, policy and public health workbench and IT Foundation and Resiliency. The plan three objectives and principles: Going Digital Intelligently, Using Data Efficiently and Disrupting Meaningfully. First, going digital intelligently refers to using digital tools in ways that will be valuable to patients and healthcare professionals and providers. Second, using data efficiently refers to using health data for research, policy, interventions, treatments and more productive practices and expanded outreach. Third, disrupting meaningfully refers to allowing disruption, even if potentially painful, which will have meaningful benefits to patients and their families to take place.  

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 
The HLS Committee has been working to address the suspension of imported medical devices in Indonesia’s e-catalogue, which happened around the middle of last year. In March, members met with the national procurement agency (LKPP) and learned that the agency is shorthanded and has requested for manpower support from the Ministry of Health to assist with the price negotiation process. Since then, LKPP has issued an official statement with a list of imported and domestic medical devices products that are expected to be registered May.  However, the suspension has not been lifted. After discussions with Indonesia's medical devices association, GAKESLAB, last Friday (June 2), members are interested in having a GAKESLAB-USABC joint meeting with the Ministry of Health to better understand the continuous delay in lifting the suspension. This meeting will be open to the pharmaceutical companies facing issues with registering their products on the e-catalogue. Interested companies, please contact Ying Hui Tng (yhtng@usasean.org) or Shaveen Sharma (ssharma@usasean.org) for details of the meeting. 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

Cambodia
Parties vow better health services
Childhoods cut short: report

Indonesia
Granting Indonesian youth access to reproductive health rights
Free School Meals Help Indonesian Children Stand Tall
Indonesia: Leptospirosis kills eight in Kulon Progo
Indonesia pushes for stronger focus at health assembly

Laos
Laos sees highest rate of malnutrition in southeastern Asia: ministry

Malaysia
WHO wants to tap Malaysia's medical expertise, says Health D-G 
Achieving zero hunger, good health goes hand in hand, Subramaniam says
Need to audit private healthcare more often

Myanmar
The fight against fake drugs
Myanmar govt to enact measures to prevent dengue epidemic 
Myanmar's Yangon to ban smoking in public areas
Hluttaw wants national health insurance system

Philippines
Baguio addresses proliferation of unlicensed water refilling stations
Malnutrition pulls down Philippines' ‘End of Childhood’ rank to 96th
Russia offers cheaper meds, pharma, healthcare to PH
Next miracle drug may come from PH seas, say scientists

Singapore
One BioMed and A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore establish joint lab
Singapore’s pragmatic approach to technology disruptions - Eyes on APAC
Tech-savvy seniors in Singapore want home care
S'pore 'on track to have one of world's most IT-enabled healthcare systems'

Thailand
Activists Protest Any Rollback of National Health Care
Experts urged to focus on biomedical
+ Govt websites open for public response on National Health Security Bill
Thailand reports 19 dengue-related deaths to date

Vietnam
+ Privatisation no cure for healthcare ills: Deputy PM
Unsafe food remains a grave concern
Việt Nam eyes more healthcare PPPs
Hospital fees hike for the uninsured

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Cambodia

Parties vow better health services Khmer Times | News Portal Cambodia | 1st Jun 2017
Members of groups representing several marginalised communities yesterday called on political parties contesting in the commune elections to ensure health issues and development remain a top priority. 

Childhoods cut short: report Phnom Penh Post 1st Jun 2017
A 50 percent increase in teenage pregnancies and a rise in child marriages in Cambodia are effectively robbing children of their childhoods, according to a Save the Children report released today.

Indonesia

Granting Indonesian youth access to reproductive health rights The Jakarta Post 7th Jun 2017
Both in urban and rural settings, most young people in Indonesia still find it difficult to get accurate information on sexual reproductive health.

Free School Meals Help Indonesian Children Stand Tall Jakarta Globe 6th Jun 2017
In Indonesia, one in three children between the ages of six and 14 do not eat enough nutritious food, the UN World Food Program (WFP) says. 

Indonesia: Leptospirosis kills eight in Kulon Progo Outbreak News Today 5th Jun 2017
Indonesia: Leptospirosis kills eight in Kulon Progo Health officials in Kulon Progo in the Yogyakarta Special Region, Indonesia are reporting 58 cases of the bacterial disease, leptospirosis, including eight fatalities since the beginning of the year.

Indonesia pushes for stronger focus at health assembly The Jakarta Post 29th May 2017
Indonesia is aiming to strengthen bilateral cooperation on health issues as Health Minister Nila Moeloek meets her counterparts on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Laos

Laos sees highest rate of malnutrition in southeastern Asia: ministry Xinhua News 5th Jun 2017
Despite significant progress made over past decades, Laos still has some of the highest rates of malnutrition seen in southeastern Asia, local daily Vientiane Times on Friday quoted Lao Ministry of Health as saying.

Malaysia

WHO wants to tap Malaysia's medical expertise, says Health D-G Star Media Group Berhad 27th May 2017
Impressed with Ma­­lay­­sia’s medical research work and making medicine more accessible and affor­­dable, the World Health Organisation has expressed interest in harnessing its expertise, the Health Ministry said.

Achieving zero hunger, good health goes hand in hand, Subramaniam says The Malay Mail Online 24th May 2017
To build a better system for health in a sustainable way, our notion of system must go beyond healthcare said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam. Speaking at the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA), he said it requires courageous steps as advocators to communicate the co-benefit of innovative public policy for health. “In those areas that are foreign to us, we might not be able to lead but we must always guide so we can build the illusionary barrier of health and non-health sectors. Indeed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) make clear the case that all sectors are indeed health sectors,” he said during a plenary session of WHA, hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Need to audit private healthcare more often The Star 29th May 2017
OVER the last few years, there has been increasing interest globally in the issue of patient safety including primary care. Patient’s safety issues arise not mainly from provider’s negligence but also from failures in the healthcare system in having sufficient safeguards embedded to protect patients.

Myanmar

Myanmar govt to enact measures to prevent dengue epidemic | Yangon Coconuts 31st May 2017
Myanmar’s Public Health Department is calling for nationwide preventive measures against the spread of dengue fever after nearly 2,000 cases were reported in the first quarter of 2017, including nine fatal ones.

Hluttaw wants national health insurance system The Myanmar Times 6th Jun 2017
The Pyithu Hluttaw has urged the government to establish a nationwide health insurance system to reduce the rising healthcare expenses. Dr San Shwe Win, who represents Yegyi township in Ayeyarwady Region, submitted the proposal to the Pyithu Hluttaw session on Monday. He said at the Hluttaw that the objective of his proposal is to improve the efficiency of government healthcare work, so that all citizens, including the poor, get effective, timely healthcare and have the necessary funds. “With the changing social economy, increasing population, different types of diseases, low funds for the health sector and scarcity of medical appliances, the expenses incurred by the public if they get sick is reaching more than 80 percent, and this is becoming a burden,” he said.

Philippines

Baguio addresses proliferation of unlicensed water refilling stations Northbound Philippines News Online 6th Jun 2017
The committee on health and sanitation, ecology and environmental protection of the City Council is urging the executive branch of the local government to address the increasing number of water refilling stations who have no license to operate.

Malnutrition pulls down Philippines' ‘End of Childhood’ rank to 96th philstar.com 2nd Jun 2017
The Philippines barely scraped into the top 100 countries for a child to grow up in, according to the 2017 End of Childhood Survey. The survey, conducted by international child welfare organization Save the Children, ranked the best and worst countries for children to be born in. Ranking 96th in a survey that covered 172 countries, the Philippines was behind neighbors Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, and marginally above Indonesia, 101; Cambodia, 117; and Myanmar, 112.

Russia offers cheaper meds, pharma, healthcare to PH The Manila Times 29th May 2017
The Russian government has offered to provide the Philippines cheaper medicines, other pharmaceutical products and healthcare solutions under business deals between the two countries, in addition to agreements previously signed by private businessmen, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said from Russia.

Next miracle drug may come from PH seas, say scientists Philippine Daily Inquirer 24th May 2017
The next miracle drug may come from the country’s seas, scientists here said last week. “There are so many potential drugs which can come from the ocean. This is precisely the next frontier which we feel pharmaceutical drug discovery efforts should look into,” said Dr. Aaron Joseph Villaraza, associate professor at the University of the Philippines Institute of Chemistry in Diliman. Speaking at the 39th Luzon session of the National Academy of Science and Technology here on May 16, Villaraza said medicines for pain relief or compounds used for cancer research had been synthesized from marine life found in the Philippines.

Singapore

One BioMed and A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore establish joint lab Enterprise Innovation | Asia's Premier Business and Technology Publication 6th Jun 2017
Local diagnostics company One BioMed Pte Ltd and A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) have established a joint laboratory to develop molecular diagnostic assays for the Asian clinical infectious disease testing market.

Singapore’s pragmatic approach to technology disruptions - Eyes on APAC Computer Weekly 1st Jun 2017
Conceived in 2014, Singapore’s National Health IT Masterplan is coming to fruition, with key projects such as the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) system already in place.

Tech-savvy seniors in Singapore want home care Enterprise Innovation | Asia's Premier Business and Technology Publication 1st Jun 2017
With two in every five of Singapore residents expected to be age 55 and older by 2030, a new survey by Accenture shows that 84% of seniors want digital options for accessing their health services from home.

S'pore 'on track to have one of world's most IT-enabled healthcare systems' The Straits Times 31st May 2017
Singapore is on track to having one of the most IT-enabled healthcare systems in the world, said Mr Bruce Liang, chief executive officer of Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS).

New NUS medical device cuts time and costs for treating glue ear condition The Straits Times 24th May 2017
SINGAPORE - Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a new handheld device for the treatment of a common ear condition that could significantly save on cost and time compared with current surgical methods.

Thailand

Activists Protest Any Rollback of National Health Care Khaosod English 6th Jun 2017
Those looking to protect Thailand’s universal health care benefits defied the junta’s assembly ban on Tuesday to protest proposed amendments to the law which would remake the much-praised system that has been in place since 2002.

Experts urged to focus on biomedical The Nation 5th Jun 2017
Thai medical and health sectors have unique capabilities to tap technologies and product commercialisation as part of the successful Thailand 4.0 vision, said a group of medical experts at The Nation roundtable. They welcomed the government’s inclusion of the medical and health sectors under the Eastern Economic Corridor and Thailand 4.0 but noted a further holistic approach on development was still required to put the “house in order”. Associate Prof Manop Pithukpakorn, Division of Medial Genetics, Department of Medicine, Mahidol University, said Thailand already has worldclass doctors and researchers produced by local medical schools. “If we can produce the complete research on biomedical, it will be more useful. Currently, we separately conduct the research without the same [national] direction. Research needs collaboration and interdiscipline among different sectors – not only medical but also engineering,” said Manop. 

Govt Websites open for public response on National Health Security Bill The Nation 4th Jun 2017
People can now offer their comments on the National Health Security Bill on the websites of various authorities, including www.lawamendment.go.th. The bill, if endorsed, will replace the current National Health Security Act that governs much of the country’s healthcare sector including the universal coverage healthcare scheme. 

Thailand reports 19 dengue-related deaths to date Outbreak News Today 27th May 2017
Thailand reports 19 dengue-related deaths to date Through May 22, Thailand health authorities have reported 11062 cases of dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS), accounting for 19 deaths across the country.

Vietnam

Privatization no cure for healthcare ills: Deputy PM vietnamenews.vn 7th Jun 2017
Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam has conceded that while the Government keeps stressing the importance of grassroots healthcare stations, people don’t have much faith in them. The candid concession came during a working session the Deputy PM held with the HCM City People’s Committee on local healthcare last week. However, Dam also stressed that privatisation of healthcare facilities in the country was not the answer.

Unsafe food remains a grave concern vietnamnews.vn 6th Jun 2017
Measures to ensure food safety were a hot debate topic in the National Assembly yesterday, as NA deputies spent the whole day reviewing the implementation of food safety laws and regulations from 2011-2016.

Việt Nam eyes more healthcare PPPs vietnamnews.vn 6th Jun 2017
More public-private partnerships (PPPs) are needed in the private healthcare sector as public hospitals and clinics cannot meet the demand across the country, experts have said.

Hospital fees hike for the uninsured vietnamenews.vn 1st Jun 2017
Some 50 hospitals will impose a fee hike for people without health insurance from Thursday (June 1). The fees will be applicable at special-class and first-class hospitals of the Ministry of Health and hospitals under sectors. The fee hike for the uninsured will be imposed in 30 provinces in August, another 15 provinces in October and the remaining 18 provinces in December.