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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Advanced health biotechnologies in Thailand: redefining policy directions

Román Pérez Velasco1*, Usa Chaikledkaew23, Chaw Yin Myint2, Roongnapa Khampang2, Sripen Tantivess2 and Yot Teerawattananon2*

Author Affiliations

1 Pharmaceutical Consultant, Bangkok, Thailand

2 Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP), Ministry of Public Health, Tiwanon Rd, Muang, Nonthaburi, 11000, Thailand

3 Social and Administrative Pharmacy Excellence Research (SAPER) Unit, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University, 447 Sri-Ayudthaya Road, Payathai, Ratchathevee, Bangkok, 10400, Thailand

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Journal of Translational Medicine 2013, 11:1  doi:10.1186/1479-5876-11-1

Published: 2 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Thailand faces a significant burden in terms of treating and managing degenerative and chronic diseases. Moreover, incidences of rare diseases are rising. Many of these—such as diabetes, cancer, and inherited inborn metabolic diseases—have no definite treatments or cure. Meanwhile, advanced health biotechnology has been found, in principle, to be an effective solution for these health problems.

Methods

Qualitative approaches were employed to analyse the current situation and examine existing public policies related to advanced health biotechnologies in Thailand. The results of this analysis were then used to formulate policy recommendations.

Results

Our research revealed that the system in Thailand in relation to advanced health biotechnologies is fragmented, with multiple unaddressed gaps, underfunding of research and development (R&D), and a lack of incentives for the private sector. In addition, there are no clear definitions of advanced health biotechnologies, and coverage pathways are absent. Meanwhile, false advertising and misinformation are prevalent, with no responsible bodies to actively and effectively provide appropriate information and education (I&E). The establishment of a specialised institution to fill the gaps in this area is warranted.

Conclusion

The development and implementation of a comprehensive national strategic plan related to advanced health biotechnologies, greater investment in R&D and I&E for all stakeholders, collaboration among agencies, harmonisation of reimbursement across public health schemes, and provision of targeted I&E are specifically recommended.

Keywords:
Advanced health biotechnologies; Advanced therapies; Pharmacogenomics; Stem cell therapy; Gene therapy; Tissue engineering therapy; Qualitative research; Biomedical research policy; Health policy; Thailand