Singapore Expects to Pass Law Regulating Human Stem Cell Research

In late October 2003, Singapore’s Ministry of Health announced the drafting of a new bill that would regulate research and collection of human stem cells and tissue. The draft law called the Regulation of Biomedical Research Bill has been placed on the ministry’s website for consultation and comment from November 10 to 30, 2003.

The proposed regulation will limit the types of research able to be performed on human stem cells in Singapore. It will prohibit reproductive cloning, and will also require researchers to obtain informed consent from patients before their tissues are collected. This is in order to protect the interests of patients involved with human stem cell research.

Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, Director of the Ministry of Health’s Medical Services, commented, “Clear and stringent regulations are critical as more research using human stem cells and tissues is carried out in Singapore because they will ensure that all the work being done here is ethically sound.”

No date has yet been announced on when the bill is expected to be passed. However, once the new legislation is passed, persons conducting reproductive cloning research or unauthorized stem cell research will be liable to fines, imprisonment, or both.