Categorized | National News

Stem Cell Regulations Tabled

Regulations for the Stem Cell Research and Therapy Act 2013 were tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday by Minister of Health Dr. Perry Gomez.

Calling it transformative legislation, Dr. Gomez said stem cell is emerging as the most significant impact in which medicine and the healthcare industry will be positively changed since the discovery of penicillin.

“The stem cell industry in The Bahamas will become a pacesetter in the world,” the health minister said.

“There will be in place the legislative and regulatory framework to allow for the control and monitoring and oversight to ensure that participants comply with protocols especially those that have to meet international standards. The legislation speaks specifically to the establishment of three committees: one the National Stem Cell and Ethics Committee, two the Scientific Committee and three, the compliance committee.”

Dr. Gomez also explained that each committee has distinct functions but are interrelated and interfaced in such a manner that once operational will result in the harmonisation of overseeing and monitoring the industry.

He also explained that other related legislation such as the Medical Act 2014, Health and Hospitals Authority Act, the Health Professionals Act will all detail appropriately the highest standard of stem cell research.

“I will also say that millions of dollars have been spent in the preparedness phase for this type of research and therapy,” Dr. Gomez.

“The Annual Summit of Stem Cell Therapy to be held in November has extended a particular invitation to The Bahamas to be a participant in this most prestigious stem cell gathering globally. The indications even now are that the potential benefits to sports medicine and medical tourism in The Bahamas are likely to be very significant in the short and long term.”

Minister Gomez said the training opportunities for Bahamians in the science and allied health field will also increase tremendously.

The regulations were expected to be tabled in Parliament back in January.

The government has had an obliging approach to the development of stem cell research with Prime Minister Perry Christie insisting that its implementation will give the Bahamas the opportunity to become a “world leader” in the field.
The Stem Cell Bill was tabled in the House of Assembly by the prime minister in April 2013.
At the time Prime Minister Christie explained that corporations interested in establishing stem cell research and therapy centres in The Bahamas were proposing to build health care facilities and laboratories which would spark job creation.

“Every facility or laboratory used for stem cell research or therapy in the Bahamas must obtain a license under the Hospital and Health Care Facility Act,” he said at the time.

The government’s push towards stem cell therapy in the Bahamas has garnered considerable backlash for the Christie administration especially with the alleged involvement of fashion designer Peter Nygard.

Sasha Lightbourne

Written by Sasha Lightbourne

Journal Staff Writer

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