(This story has been updated to include a statement from Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority.)
Singapore’s government signaled it could be ready to follow regional neighbors Thailand and South Korea in allowing pharmaceutical products containing cannabinoids.
“It is important to differentiate between products containing unprocessed or raw cannabis and pharmaceutical products containing cannabinoids,” the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health said in a joint statement this week clarifying the government’s position.
The ministries acknowledged published research from clinical trials on the “potential therapeutic uses of cannabinoids to manage seizures and epilepsy.”
But before any pharmaceuticals can be registered for supply in Singapore, the government said they would need to undergo “rigorous scientific review” by the country’s Health Sciences Authority.
“Manufacturers are required to substantiate the safety, quality and efficacy of the cannabinoid pharmaceuticals based on scientific evidence from clinical studies and data on the manufacturing process,” according to the statement.
To date the Health Sciences Authority has not received any applications to register pharmaceutical products containing cannabinoids in Singapore, an HSA spokesperson told Marijuana Business Daily.
Singapore already has a framework in place for the supply and prescription of controlled drugs for medical use.
Those medicines must be prescribed by a Singapore doctor and only for a medical condition registered with the Health Sciences Authority.
The ministries also noted, to date, “there are no studies which have validated the claims of unprocessed or raw cannabis being able to treat medical conditions.”
The country will continue to take a “zero-tolerance” position against illicit drugs, including cannabis, they said.
The move comes a year after the Singapore government invested millions of dollars in a medical cannabis research program to explore treatments for a range of diseases.
Matt Lamers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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