Pharmaceutical News
Vice President Lai Ching-te: biotechnology industries to add economic growth momentum

Vice President Lai Ching-te addressed the BIO Asia–Taiwan 2020 Conference by video on July 22, saying that Taiwan's relative success in containing COVID-19 has attracted global attention due to authorities’ ability to implement prudent action, rapid response, and early deployment. Looking ahead, Taiwan will develop the biotechnology industries into a new source of momentum powering Taiwan's economy, while also making Taiwan a benchmark country in precision health and pandemic prevention through science and technology.

Vice President Lai said that Taiwan responded early to the COVID-19 emergency on Dec. 31, 2019 by implementing on-board quarantine measures for all passengers flying into Taiwan from Wuhan, China, as well as a series of other precautionary measures. The Central Epidemic Command Center was activated on January 20 to guide the public in collective efforts to contain the pandemic.

Secondly, to strengthen supply chains and increase stockpiles of disease-prevention materials, Taiwan’s public and private sectors cooperated to quickly prepare raw materials, key components, manufacturing capacity, and logistics. That allowed Taiwan to meet its domestic needs for face masks, forehead thermometers, medical-grade alcohol, and personal protective equipment, the vice president said.

Thirdly, Taiwan utilized cross-discipline, innovative technologies to leverage the National Health Insurance database to help control the pandemic and reduce the burdens of disease control, the vice president said, citing  as an example whereby the National Health Insurance Medi-Cloud system was used to track travel history, occupation, contact history and clustering, which significantly strengthened capabilities in case tracking and management mechanisms; in addition, the National Health Insurance Express APP was launched, providing access to medical data and fast authentication.

Due to the pandemic, there have been major changes in the global economy and industries worldwide. To respond to the pandemic and create a new industrial structure, the government is planning to promote Six Core Strategic Industries announced by President Tsai Ing-wen. Those strategic industries include the biotechnology and medical technology industries, which will make the biomedical industries a new source of momentum for Taiwan's economy. It will also make Taiwan a benchmark country in precision health and pandemic containment, said the vice president.

Looking ahead, Taiwan will be leveraging the foundations built from the pandemic. The government will be using Taiwan’s healthcare systems, advantages in information communication technology, Internet of Things, and data analytics technology in the pharmaceutical, medical device, and health industries with hopes of driving cross-disciplinary innovation and development in biotechnology industries, the vice president concluded.

[2020-07-22 / Presidential Office]