Pharmaceutical companies face barriers in Singapore

Pharmaceutical companies seeking to deepen penetration of Singapore’s market are coming up against barriers to ensuring their intellectual property is protected and to keeping down costs of conducting clinical trials.

The pharma industry is rising in importance in the country’s manufacturing sector. And while IP protection is generally considered very strong in Singapore, patent term restoration for biopharmaceutical inventions by the government is still weak. Under Singapore law, protection for brand-name drugs from generic competition is limited to the product registration period, despite months and sometimes years lost while new products undergo testing and regulatory review.

Also, frustrating pharmaceutical companies is the lack of government oversight of formulary and subsidy lists used by practitioners. Criteria and timelines for evaluating which pharmaceuticals are deemed by public healthcare institutions to offer the best value vary broadly. And setting up clinical trials is slow by industry standards, making such trials costly.