September 22, 2005

Singapore's sizeable drug manufacturing industry, which saw wild swings in output during the early part of the year, is continuing to recover. However, official data indicates that the recent upturn has been slower than on previous occasions.

Pharmaceutical production was 48.8% higher year-on-year in June, and 15.5% higher in July. Overall industrial output in the city-state in July grew by 5.9%.

Singapore's government is keen to support the pharmaceutical sector and has set a goal of having at least 10 multinational drug production facilities operating in the country by 2010. To this end, intellectual property rules are now in line with international standards — although opponents of the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement claim that the measures are far more stringent than TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights).

As well as being the site for Biopolis, a large new biotechnology park, Singapore is increasingly becoming an attractive destination for clinical trials owing to abundant potential volunteers, highly-trained personnel and the broad adoption of both Good Clinical practice (GCP) and ICH guidelines.