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Cross-Strait Agreement on Medical,Pharmaceutical and Health Cooperation

Background Material on the "Cross-Strait Agreement on Medical and Health Cooperation" (Source:Department of Health, Executive Yuan)

  • Date:2010-12-27

Department of Health, Executive Yuan
December 15, 2010

I. Foreword

The Department of Health (DOH) held a briefing on the Cross-Strait Agreement on Medical and Health Cooperation on December 1 this year (2010) to inform the public about the main background of the Agreement and the four major areas of expected cooperation. The DOH believes that the health of the Taiwan people and the urgent medical and health issues facing business circles should be prioritized for inclusion in the scope of the cooperation. Moreover, the cooperation should be premised on "minimizing impacts on the domestic health care system while maximizing protections for the people's health and safety." Furthermore, to prevent negative impacts on Taiwan's health care system and to protect the medical rights and interests of the Taiwan people, the DOH has decided to adhere firmly to five major principles in negotiations: "no involvement with educating and cultivating medical professionals," "no allowing Mainland medical personnel to take license examinations in Taiwan," "no allowing Mainland medical professionals to practice in Taiwan," "no allowing Mainland investors to establish hospitals in Taiwan," and "no allowing Taiwan's national health insurance program to make payments to Mainland medical facilities."

The Agreement is now nearing the completion stage. In order to further inform the Taiwan public of the cooperation content under this Agreement as well as how it will achieve the objectives of "upholding the people's health" and "protecting the rights and interests of consumers" while " taking into account the development of the domestic industry," further explanations on the cooperation content and the expected benefits of this Agreement are provided.

II. Cooperation Content

The Agreement covers control of communicable diseases, safety management as well as research and development of medical and pharmaceutical products, safety management and research of Chinese medicine and pharmacy, and emergency treatment. Among which, safety management of the products will not involve the issue of opening up the market. Furthermore, health tourism has not been included in the Agreement content since it is operating well under current mechanism without any difficulties.

1.Control of communicable diseases

The two sides will regularly exchange information on the results of communicable disease monitoring, shipping port quarantine actions, and epidemic situations in order to keep communicable diseases from spreading over the border and provide people traveling to the Mainland area with appropriate information on hygiene education and disease prevention. In case of an outbreak of a major communicable disease, the two sides can promptly obtain the latest information on the epidemic situation, adopt effective quarantine and disease prevention measures, and prevent cross-strait spread. The two sides can also jointly conduct researches on vaccines for major communicable diseases of mutual deep concern, as well as share practical experience on communicable disease control through channels between the operational competent authorities on both sides with an aim to jointly upgrade the ability of disease prevention.

2.Safety management and R&D of medical and pharmaceutical products (pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, health food and cosmetics)

The Agreement calls for establishing mechanisms for notifying, handling, and tracking information related to cross-strait safety management, adverse reactions and adverse events of medical and pharmaceutical products. It also promotes cross-strait cooperation on investigating and dealing with counterfeit and sub-standard drugs to effectively prevent the import of shoddy medical and pharmaceutical products from the Mainland to Taiwan. In addition, it promotes harmonization of standard specifications in line with internationally recognized standards, upgrades investigation ability, and strengthens safety management mechanisms on both sides, ensuring safety and quality of medical and pharmaceutical products.

Furthermore, the Agreement aims to promote cross-strait cooperative projects for new drug clinical trials, carry out clinical trial exchanges, accelerate new drug clinical trials, and shorten duration needed for new drug development.

3.Safety management of Chinese herbal medicine and research on Chinese medicine and pharmacy

The Agreement calls for establishing a source management mechanism for Chinese herbal medicine and strengthening inspection measures on Mainland-exported products. It also calls for establishing a notification mechanism for reporting major safety incidents and adverse reactions related to Chinese herbal medicine to prevent cross-border entry of unsafe Chinese herbal medicine. In addition, it calls for conducting cross-strait research and promoting exchanges on the diagnosis and treatment methods of Chinese medicine and pharmacy.

4.Emergency treatment

Under the Agreement, the two sides will establish a prompt and effective cross-strait emergency treatment mechanism to quickly identify the number and name list of injured persons and the situation of injury when major accidents occur in course of contacts between the two sides. This will help in the arrangement of hospital admission and transfer services, further protecting the lives of the people on both sides and relieve the family members of the injured parties.

III. Expected Benefits

The signing of this Agreement focuses on protecting the health of all the people. In order not to affect the quality of health care in Taiwan and to protect the medical rights and interests of the people of Taiwan, the DOH has adopted the "Five Noes Principle" as a premise for negotiations: "no involvement with educating and cultivating medical professionals," "no allowing Mainland medical professionals to practice in Taiwan," "no allowing Mainland medical personnel to take license examinations in Taiwan," "no allowing Mainland investors to establish hospitals in Taiwan," and "no allowing Taiwan's national health insurance program to make payments to Mainland medical facilities." On this basis, the signing of the "Cross-Strait Agreement on Medical and Health Cooperation is anticipated to produce the following benefits:

1.Maintaining the health of all the people

The probability of the spread of communicable diseases and the occurrence of accidents has grown due to the growing frequency of contacts between people across the Taiwan Strait. Signing this Agreement will enable Taiwan to more clearly grasp the spread situation of communicable disease in the Mainland area so as to develop prevention strategies in a timely manner, as well as provide a reference for Taiwan people visiting the Mainland.

Signing this Agreement can also enable the people of Taiwan to receive timely medical care when major accidents occur in the Mainland, effectively protecting their travel and health safety.

2.Protecting the rights and interests of consumers

The Mainland is a major import source of raw material for Taiwan. It is hoped that this Agreement will promote safety management of cross-strait medical and pharmaceutical products in line with internationally recognized standards to ensure the quality and safety of medical and pharmaceutical products and Chinese herbal medicine used by the people of Taiwan. This can also strengthen the timely notification of adverse reactions to counterfeit or shoddy medical and pharmaceutical products as well as provide prompt information from monitoring products once available on the market. Furthermore, it can establish a source management mechanism for Chinese herbal medicine, thereby further ensuring the safety of consumers when they use these medicinal herbs.

3.Taking into account the development of the domestic industry

The biotech industry is the next star industry currently being promoted actively by the government. Besides, this sector affects the rights and interests of people's health. It is therefore hoped that the signing of this Agreement can promote cooperation between the Mainland and Taiwan on new drug development and clinical trials. In this way, and in line with internationally recognized standards for management of medical and pharmaceutical products, the two sides can bring their respective advantages together in establishing a cross-strait cooperation platform in this area, shortening the time it takes to commercialize new drugs and supporting the development of the domestic biotech industry.

IV. Conclusion

Medicine and sanitation are closely intertwined with people’s health, public well-being, and social stability. They also have direct impacts on national competitiveness. In signing the Cross-Strait Agreement on Medical and Health Cooperation with the Mainland side, the DOH will uphold the three major objectives of "safeguarding the health of all the people," "protecting the rights of consumers," and "taking into account the development of the domestic industry" and adhere to the "Five Noes Principle." The Agreement will establish an institutionalized cross-strait cooperation mechanism to effectively control the medical and health risks which might possibly be posed by deepened cross-strait exchanges, so as to keep watch over the health of the Taiwan people and create a healthy and safe environment for all.

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