KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — Caretaker Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today that he has asked Barisan Nasional’s (BN) election manifesto committee to include his proposed tobacco and vape generational end game (GEG).
Khairy, who is incumbent Rembau MP from Umno, also told the press that he was still asking for a seat to contest in the 15th general election, after previously disclosing that Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan had asked him to make way in the constituency that Khairy has represented since 2008.
“Of course, as health minister, I have given a few suggestions, including that (the GEG),” Khairy said at a press conference at Clinical Research Malaysia’s (CRM) Trial Connect 2022 opening ceremony here, when asked if he has asked BN to include the GEG in its election manifesto.
“I am preparing a proposal, which I will send to Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin. He is the [Umno] vice president that is responsible for the manifesto.”
Anti-tobacco groups led by the Malaysian Council of Tobacco Control (MCTC) recently came together to urge all candidates running for office in GE15 to support the GEG, and for incoming Members of Parliament to pass the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022.
The Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill envisions a smoking GEG through the prohibition of the sale and use of tobacco or vape products by anyone born from 2007 onward. The bill, however, was stalled in the House of Representatives before Parliament was dissolved last Monday.
On the flip side, the caretaker health minister did make an electoral promise during a CRM panel discussion on research at the event.
Khairy pledged to lower the startup time for clinical trials from five months to six months to four months, following a suggestion by Atul Chaudhari, the trial monitoring head for Singapore and Malaysia Novartis, who stated that a four-month period starting from the project protocol to the first patient team “would be the best.”
“Okay. Four months by next year, four months? Done? Okay, done,” said Khairy.
Khairy’s election promise also received support from Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah at the panel.
“Just to mention about four months, I think it’s not impossible, provided if it details and transforms the processes of how we do things differently.
“I think if you were to learn from the experience of pandemic Covid 19, when we did the Solidarity Trial within a short period of time, our enrollment is one of the largest ever seen within a short period of time, and it can be done if we use technology,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
The Solidarity Trial that Dr Noor Hisham was referring to is the globally coordinated trial launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) to collect reliable data and compare the safety and effectiveness of four treatment protocols for Covid-19, using different combinations of remdesivir, lopinavir/ ritonavir, interferon beta, and chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
Khairy announced that the gross national income stemming from clinical trials in Malaysia is expected to surpass RM1 billion next year.
“As I have said before, clinical trials in Malaysia has already gone through a very, very big development and the next year we will surpass one billion ringgit in terms of gross national income, which has already been produced through projects or test contracts and also clinical trials that have been conducted in Malaysia since the year 2012.”
Khairy also announced that next year will bring in more than 2,000 research projects sponsored by the industry. This sponsorship includes pharmaceutical companies and some of the largest clinical research organisations in the world.