SinoPac Holdings Co (永豐金控) chairman Ho Shou-chuan (何壽川) yesterday launched the Taiwan Research-based Biopharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (TRPMA, 台灣研發型生技新藥發展協會) to serve as an intermediary agent between the industry and the government, as well as between Taiwanese manufacturers and those of other countries.
The association has recruited more than 20 biopharmaceutical firms, Ho said at a launch ceremony at SinoPac’s Taipei headquarters. While the association is open to all companies that are developing new drugs, Ho said that unlike previous industry associations, TRPMA would focus on new drug development.
Among the cofounders are TTY Biopharm Co (台灣東洋藥品), Orient Europharma Group (友華生技), Sinphar Pharmaceutical Co (杏輝製藥) and YFY Biotech Management Co (上騰生技顧問).
Given the significant research and development costs, biopharmaceutical firms need to have a large market to sell their products to survive, Ho said. That is why it is import for the Taiwanese biopharmaceutical industry to enter the markets in China, elsewhere in Asia and around the world, he said.
Taiwan’s biotech industry has been developing rapidly over the past four years, with the number of listed and over-the-counter companies increasing from 40 to 66, while their market value has tripled from NT$95 billion (US$3.26 billion) to NT$340 billion, according to Ho, who is also chairman of Taiwan’s leading paper manufacturer, Yuen Foong Yu Group (永豐餘集團).
In terms of a cross-strait cooperation agreement on medicine, Ho said Taiwan’s biopharmaceutical industry must integrate itself first before the government negotiates the details of the agreement with Chinese authorities.
The industry also has to create a channel to negotiate with the Bureau of National Health Insurance about drug prices. The association can provide more objective and thorough information concerning new drugs to the government than the companies producing the drugs, Ho said.
Meanwhile, Department of Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) said the department would soon establish a national institute of health technology assessment to assess new drugs and review related policies. The institute will be responsible for communicating with biopharmaceutical manufacturers and promoting biopharmaceutical technology.
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