Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday reaffirmed his belief that the Biotech and New Pharmaceuticals Industry Development Act (生技新藥產業發展條例) is “legislation that benefits the people and the country” amid the furor that has enveloped the presidential election campaign over the founding of Yu Chang Biologics Co.
The act provided incentives that helped Taiwan outpace Singapore and catch up with Japan in developing biotechnology and new pharmaceutical industries, Wang said.
Wang, who led the then-deputy speaker and 104 lawmakers in introducing the act in June 2007, disputed allegations that Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) profited from her role in pushing through the bill.
“I don’t think that was the case,” Wang said. “I was the sponsor of the act, which was not tailor-made for Yu Chang Biologics Co, but for any company.”
Wang, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member, said he did not know who drafted the act, except that the draft was given to him by Tsai, Academia Sinica President Wong Chi- huey (翁啟惠) and then-National Science Council minister Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁).
He made the remarks when asked about a WikiLeaks cable that suggested Tsai told then-American Institute in Taiwan director Stephen Young in July 2007 that she had drafted the bill.
The draft act was sent to the legislature’s clerk on June 6, 2007, and it was passed on June 15.
“At the time, the biotechnology industry was like a ‘sunset industry,’ with no future in sight. The industry needed the legislature to quickly pass the bill. It has been proven that the act revitalized the industry and laid the foundations for its further development,” Wang said.
Wang said that more than 20 types of drugs have entered the first phase of clinical trials approved by the US’ Food and Drug Administration and that three other drugs are in the third phase of such a trial, all of which have contributed to the development of the industry in Taiwan.