On the 20th, Minister of Health and Welfare Xue Ruiyuan attended the Social Welfare and Health Environment Committee of the Legislative Yuan to review the "Regenerative Medicine Law" and the "Regenerative Medicine Preparations Bill" and other cases and made inquiries.

(Photo by reporter Tu Jianrong)

[Reporters Lu Yixuan and Lin Huiqin/Taipei Report] The Legislative Yuan Social Welfare, Sanitation and Environmental Committee conducted an inquiry yesterday on the "Regenerative Medicine Law" and the "Regenerative Medicine Preparations Bill".

Due to the high cost of regenerative medicine, many legislators are concerned about whether the future health insurance can be covered and the mechanism of commercial insurance; Minister of Health and Welfare Xue Ruiyuan said that the mechanism to be included in the health insurance is under development, and before the health insurance is paid, he also agrees with commercial insurance to help. The Financial Regulatory Commission, insurance companies, and patient groups will be invited to discuss commercial insurance plans for regenerative medicine.

The dual law on regenerative medicine will be reviewed one by one next week

Regenerative medicine refers to the use of genes, cells and their derivatives to treat, repair or replace human cells, tissues and organs, and its scope includes regenerative medicine preparations and regenerative medicine technologies.

At present, it can be used to treat various diseases such as cancer, stroke, skin defects, spinal cord injuries, and knee cartilage defects.

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Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hong Shenhan pointed out that many people say that regenerative medicine is actually a rich man's medicine, because for ordinary people, the price of treatment is quite expensive, and because of legal restrictions, many people go abroad for treatment.

According to the 2020 "Medical and Biotechnology Management Talent Training Report" issued by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, experts suggested that Japan and South Korea have better insurance systems for cell therapy and regenerative medicine than Taiwan.

If this field cannot be included in the health insurance for a while, the government should think carefully about how to guide commercial insurance into the treatment items approved by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Xue Ruiyuan replied that the relevant insurance industry has not yet been approached to discuss this matter, which is indeed very important.

However, he admitted that domestic insurance companies are relatively conservative. If you talk to insurance companies, they need data such as disease risk, but it is actually difficult for the Ministry of Health and Welfare to provide this part at this stage.

DPP Legislator Huang Xiufang is also concerned that many cancer patients look forward to new medical methods, but regenerative medicine is expensive. The minister said that it may be included in the national health insurance. Will commercial insurance also be considered?

Xue Ruiyuan said that there are indeed two directions. The mechanism of inclusion in the health insurance is being developed. Before the health insurance is paid, commercial insurance can help.

Set out the scope of charges through the implementing rules

Qiu Yiying, a legislator of the Democratic Progressive Party, asked a question about the high R&D costs of regenerative medicine, resulting in relatively high costs for regenerative medicine.

After the dual laws of regenerative medicine are passed, what kind of charge is a reasonable range if it is mass-produced?

Xue Ruiyuan responded that the scope will be set out through implementation rules and other methods for local reference.

There are also many legislators who are concerned about the "approval of additional payment" in the "Regenerative Medicine Preparations Bill". Xue Ruiyuan said that as long as the second phase of clinical trials are completed, and the risk and benefit have safety and preliminary curative effect after review, additional payment can be made , to grant permission with a valid period not exceeding five years, so that patients can receive treatment earlier.