The Duke-NUS Centre of Regulatory Excellence (CoRE) celebrated five years of capacity building and innovation in regulatory health systems in Singapore and the Asia Pacific today, at the graduation ceremony for its inaugural cohort. The ceremony, which was graced by guest-of-honour, Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health, celebrated the achievements of 10 students graduating from the Graduate Certificate Programme in Pharmaceutical Regulation. The unique training programme is aimed at equipping working professionals from both public and private sectors with regulatory science expertise.
CoRE was set up at Duke-NUS Medical School in 2014, with support from the Ministry of Health (MOH), Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and the Economic Development Board (EDB), to strengthen health product regulatory systems across Asia. Since its launch, CoRE has played an important role in key initiatives for health product regulation in Singapore and the wider region. The Centre has also begun to address broader health systems and policy issues in its programmes.
"Over the past five years, CoRE has successfully launched the Graduate Certificate Programme in Pharmaceutical Regulation, and expanded health product regulation capacity-building initiatives beyond Singapore to ASEAN and the wider Asia-Pacific. We have benefited from our close partnerships with an international network of highly experienced experts and faculty from regulatory agencies, industry and academia. Working with MOH, HSA and regional platforms such as the APEC Life Science Innovation Forum, CoRE now offers a wide range of programmes in health product regulation and regulatory science to advance health policy and regulatory excellence," said Professor John Lim, CoRE's Executive Director, who is also Policy Lead at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute and a Senior Advisor to MOH.
CoRE supports HSA initiatives to regulate cell and gene therapies as well as medical devices. The Centre also collaborates with HSA and the World Health Organisation (WHO), to provide training on pharmacovigilance for post-market drug safety monitoring, and support the drafting of WHO's Guidelines for Good Reliance Practice for national medicines regulatory systems. Within the Asia Pacific region, CoRE has been actively involved in providing training not only as a recognised APEC Centre of Excellence for Multi-Regional Clinical Trials, but also in new areas such as advanced therapies and biotherapeutics. The Centre is the Secretariat for the APEC Regional Harmonisation Steering Committee, and actively involved in supporting convergence of regulatory requirements across the region to enhance timely patient access to medicines.
The Centre's Graduate Certificate Programme in Pharmaceutical Regulation, the first dedicated regulatory training programme in Asia, addresses the need to grow the regional pool of regulatory talent. Since its launch in mid-2018, the programme has seen over 160 applicants from Singapore, Southeast Asia and the wider Asia Pacific region. It is also recognised under Singapore's Skills Future programme.
"Education is one of CoRE's key strategies to enhance health products regulation and scientific excellence. The Graduate Certificate Programme in Pharmaceutical Regulation fulfils this need to provide knowledge on regulatory science expertise to working professionals in Asia," said Associate Professor Silke Vogel, Deputy Director of CoRE.
As of September 2019, the Centre had conducted six modules within this programme, which have helped over 140 students to enhance their knowledge in various topics related to regulatory affairs. "The Graduate Certificate Programme has widened my horizons and broadened my worldview by providing global and regional insights, along with networking opportunities with international and regional experts from different backgrounds. It also equips me with updated scientific and regulatory knowledge, as well as critical skills through application-based learning," said Mr Tan Eng Tat, a programme graduate who works as a Regulatory Affairs Manager at APAC Abbott.
Moving forward, CoRE will strengthen the Graduate Certificate Programme in Pharmaceutical Regulation and introduce programmes in medical devices and medical technology. The Centre will also promote thought leadership, scientific excellence and policy innovation for health product regulation and health systems, as well as develop its consultancy capabilities in collaboration with partner organisations.
"CoRE has made important contributions towards advancing health and regulatory capabilities in Asia and the region. I am delighted that the Centre is continuing to extend its scope to include broader issues in health and policy, as the regulation of healthcare products is becoming an increasingly integral aspect of quality healthcare," said Professor Patrick Casey, Senior Vice Dean for Research at Duke-NUS.
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