University Singapore University of Social Science (SUSS)
Subject LOG211e: Procurement Operations

Singapore in ‘proactive’ discussion with industry players to ensure early access to COVID-19 vaccines

SINGAPORE: Singapore is “quite proactively” in discussion with vaccine developers, pharmaceutical companies, and research institutions to make sure it can have “early access” to future COVID-19 vaccines, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Friday (Jul 24).

These discussions surround collaboration on research efforts and advanced procurement, said Mr. Gan at a press conference held by the COVID-19 task force.

Director of medical services at the Ministry of Health Associate Professor Kenneth Mak said that Singapore is “extremely interested” in working with pharmaceutical companies and collaborating on an international front “with a view towards being able to gain access to promising vaccine candidates”.

“Once proven that these vaccines are efficacious and safe, it is our intent to bring as many of these vaccine doses into Singapore such that we can benefit our population,” he said.

However, Singapore is not “banking” on any particular individual vaccine candidate, he said. Instead, the country has attempted to diversify its approach.

This includes the promotion of research on promising vaccine candidates and to bring them through the required clinical trial stages.

Assoc Prof Mak said there are pharmaceutical companies that may be keen to produce their vaccines in different parts of the world in order to improve access to these vaccines.

“We hope that some of them may find Singapore attractive enough to consider Singapore as a production base for some of these vaccines,” he said.

Singapore is also working to produce a vaccine here and on the international front, has registered its interest to participate in the COVAX Facility, designed to guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
Currently, many discussions are in place and many of them remain at quite an “early stage”, Assoc Prof Mak said.

He said it is “premature to make definitive announcements at this stage” about whether or not a particular vaccine would be procured and used, and how it would be distributed.

However, both Mr. Gan and Assoc Prof Mak said that a vaccine may only be expected late next year.

While some companies appear to be “leading the pack” by making announcements that they have started Phase 3 trials for their vaccines, there may sometimes be failures “in terms of delivering a safe and effective vaccine”, said Assoc Prof Mak.

“Given the global demand for these vaccines, it may … (be) perhaps towards the end of next year, where we might see vaccines produced in sufficient doses, and available then for procurement and to be delivered into Singapore,” he said.

Singapore continues to work on this space, said Assoc Prof Mak.

“We hope to get a vaccine for Singaporeans to benefit from as soon as is possible. At this stage, we don’t know which of the vaccine candidates will be the one most likely to be delivered and brought into Singapore, but we continue to work at making sure we have access to those vaccines,” he said.

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Question 1

Read the Channel News Asia article on, “Singapore in ‘proactive’ discussion with industry players to ensure early access to COVID-19 vaccines”

Appraise the sourcing strategy the Singapore government is undertaking,

Analyze the article and explain the various procurement strategies that are running concurrently to secure early supplies of this highly sought after COVID-19vaccine.

Please explain in your own words (not cut and paste from the article) using the various procurement concepts we have covered in class.

Question 2

Continuing from Question 1 on the Channel News Asia article on,
“Singapore in ‘proactive’ discussion with industry players to ensure early access to COVID-19 vaccines”

Let’s do a role reversal. From the perspective of the:

  • vaccine developers,
  • pharmaceutical companies and
  • research institutions that are being ‘courted’ by the Singapore authorities.

Recognize what might be the drivers for these different stakeholders in the supply eco-system for them to make that deal with Singapore. What can Singapore with its small population, be able to offer to differentiate itself from other competing buyers? What will motivate these potential three supplier stakeholders?

You may also apply the Supplier Preferencing or any other suitable model in your explanation.

Question 3

Choose an organization you are currently working for or you are familiar with.

  • Explain the various approaches which can be taken in the development of specifications, using examples from the cited organisation.
  • Outline the benefits derived from the simplification of a product and its manufacturing or assembly process.
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