On 14 August 2018, the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy and Geneva Network organised a roundtable discussion in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with multi-sectoral stakeholders to discuss, seek clarification and better understand the linkages between health, innovation and trade.
As the new Malaysian government prepares its strategy to boost the country’s economic performance and complete the transition to a high-income country, the role of innovation and knowledge-based industries will be increasingly critical in the years to come.
The life sciences sector has been identified as an area of promise for Malaysia. Investments in innovations and clinical trials have increased significantly in recent years. However, recent developments have resulted in challenges which have the potential to threaten the sustainability and growth of these investments.
What can be done to ensure innovative life sciences industries play a meaningful role in Malaysia’s future growth story? What lessons can be learned from other countries?
How can these challenges be met towards the growth of investment and innovation in Malaysia’s life sciences sector?
The following areas were highlighted:
- Intellectual property is important to get innovative medicines to patients
- Malaysia’s intellectual property rankings
- Existing legal frameworks
- Restrictive and outdated IP laws which stymy progress
- Creating better access for patients
- Developments in the life sciences industry
- Encourage development of industry and government (i.e. private-public) partnerships so that patients can access cutting edge innovative treatments with minimal or reasonable cost.
- Transparency and consultation when it comes to legal frameworks in order to ensure all avenues are exhausted before emergency measures like the Government Use Licence/ Compulsory License are taken. Stakeholder voices also must be taken into account in order to ensure legislation that benefits everyone.
- Clearer parameters should be put in place for the GUL/CL, which should be used as a last resort principle after all other avenues have been exhausted.
- Governments must manage IP rights on top of protecting and enforcing IP rights in order to develop the innovation sector.
- Countries must develop stronger IP laws to protect the rights of innovators. Research shows that countries with stronger IP rights tend to have more access to innovative drugs and treatment.
- Treatment plans and access must be more patient centric and take into account the diversity of needs that may necessitate a diverse range of treatments and innovative drugs for the same disease.
The discussion was attended by 48 participants and speakers which included representatives from relevant government ministries, pharmaceutical and healthcare technology industry, embassies, legal bodies, investment consultancy firms, academia and civil society groups.
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