In March 2017, the Ministry of Health conducted an online consultation about the draft subsidiary legislation concerning the research regulatory framework under the Singapore Human Biomedical Research Act. According to the MOH, the research regulatory framework of the HBRA will come into force in the second half of 2017.

About the HBRA

The HBRA was passed by Parliament on 18 August 2015 and has come into force in various stages since then. Our previous articles about the HBRA and its predecessor Bill can be found here and here.

The HBRA already prohibits the commercial trading of human tissue by making it an offence for a person to contract to sell his/her or another party's human tissue for valuable consideration. Such contracts will generally be rendered void by operation of law. Advertisements relating to the buying / selling in Singapore of any human tissue, or the right to take any human tissue from the body of a person, are also prohibited (sections 32 and 33). Contravention of the above constitute offences which are punishable by a fine of up to SGD 100,000 (about USD 70,000) and/or a jail term of up to 10 years.

The remaining provisions of the HBRA that have yet to come into force include:

  • consent provisions;
  • the regulatory framework for Institutional Review Boards and tissue banks; and
  • those regulating human biomedical research generally.

Draft Subsidiary Legislation

In anticipation of more provisions of the HBRA coming into force later this year, the MOH has released a number of draft regulations under the HBRA to address:

  • the conduct of human biomedical research and the duties of a researcher;
  • the controls imposed on types of restricted human biomedical research (e.g. research involving human eggs or embryos or human-animal combination embryos); and
  • prohibitions on certain types of human biomedical research that are considered to be ethically unacceptable in Singapore.

More details on the draft subsidiary legislation can be found on the MOH's website here.