Prime Minister Philip Davis’s Contribution on the Longevity and Regenerative Therapies Bill, 2024


Madam Speaker,

Today, we embark yet again on a transformative journey with the Longevity and Regenerative Therapies Bill, 2024. This legislation is poised to place The Bahamas at the forefront of global advancements in medical and wellness tourism. The promise of this Bill is not just in the pioneering therapies it will enable, but in the profound impact it will have on our economy, our healthcare system, and the well-being of our people.

Madam Speaker,

The primary purpose of this Bill is to establish a comprehensive and robust legal framework for the approval and regulation of longevity and regenerative therapies. These therapies include gene therapies, stem cell treatments, immunotherapies, and advanced longevity treatments. By setting clear and stringent guidelines, we aim to ensure that these advanced medical practices are conducted safely, ethically, and effectively. This framework will provide the necessary regulatory oversight to build confidence among practitioners, researchers, and patients, thereby positioning The Bahamas as a leader in this innovative field.

Our vision is to make The Bahamas a global leader in longevity and regenerative medicine. By creating an environment conducive to research and innovation, we aim to attract top-tier scientists, medical professionals, and institutions from around the world. This influx of global expertise will enhance our local medical capabilities and drive significant economic growth.

We envision The Bahamas becoming a premier destination for patients seeking advanced treatments to extend their healthy years and improve their quality of life. The economic benefits of attracting medical tourists will be substantial, providing new opportunities for our workforce and stimulating development in related sectors such as hospitality and transport.

This Bill underscores our commitment to embracing the future of medicine. It ensures that our citizens have access to the best possible care and establishes our nation as a hub for medical and wellness tourism. By fostering innovation and maintaining rigorous standards, we will secure a healthier, more prosperous future for all Bahamians.

Madam Speaker,

This Bill mandates the preparation of a comprehensive Longevity and Regenerative Therapy Policy by the Minister of Health and Wellness. This policy will serve as the cornerstone for the regulation and development of longevity and regenerative therapies within our nation. It will outline the strategic direction, goals, and operational standards for all activities related to these advanced medical treatments. The policy will ensure that our approach remains proactive, responsive, and aligned with the highest international standards.

To ensure the policy remains current and effective, it will be reviewed biennially. This regular review process will allow us to incorporate the latest scientific advancements, technological innovations, and emerging ethical considerations. By doing so, we can maintain a dynamic and forward-thinking regulatory environment that supports continuous improvement and adaptation in this rapidly evolving field.

Central to the implementation of this policy is the establishment of the National Longevity and Regenerative Therapy Board. This Board will be comprised of experts in the fields of medicine, science, ethics, and law, all appointed based on their qualifications and experience. Their primary responsibilities will include overseeing the approval and regulation of therapies, ensuring compliance with established standards, and fostering an environment conducive to medical innovation and excellence.

In addition to the Board, the Ethics Review Committee will play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and ethical standards of all related activities. This Committee will be responsible for reviewing and approving research proposals, ensuring that all therapies are administered safely and ethically, and that patient rights and welfare are always prioritized. The Committee will also monitor ongoing research and treatments to ensure they adhere to both national and international ethical guidelines and standards.

Together, the National Longevity and Regenerative Therapy Board and the Ethics Review Committee will provide rigorous oversight and adherence to best practices. Their collaborative efforts will ensure that all activities in this field are conducted with the highest levels of professionalism, safety, and ethical integrity. This framework will not only protect and benefit our citizens but also enhance the reputation of The Bahamas as a leading destination for cutting-edge medical treatments and research.

By establishing a robust policy and framework, we are laying the foundation for a sustainable and innovative future in longevity and regenerative medicine. This will enable us to attract top-tier researchers, medical professionals, and institutions, drive economic growth, and most importantly, improve the health and well-being of our people.

Madam Speaker,

Ethical considerations are at the heart of this Bill, forming the cornerstone of our approach to longevity and regenerative therapies. The Ethics Committee will play a crucial role in safeguarding the integrity and ethical standards of all research and therapeutic activities conducted under this legislation. This committee will be tasked with the rigorous evaluation of all proposed studies and treatments to ensure they adhere to the highest ethical principles and scientific rigor.

One of the primary responsibilities of the Ethics Committee will be to ensure that all research is conducted with the utmost respect for human dignity and rights. This includes comprehensive reviews of proposed therapies to ensure they are scientifically sound and ethically justified. The committee will scrutinize every aspect of research protocols, from the initial design to the final implementation, to guarantee that patient welfare and safety are prioritized above all else.

Furthermore, we are steadfast in our commitment to upholding the principles of informed consent. Every patient participating in a therapy or research study must be fully informed about the nature of the treatment, its potential risks and benefits, and any available alternatives. This process ensures that patients can make knowledgeable decisions about their participation, fostering an environment of transparency and trust.

Patient safety is another critical aspect that the Ethics Committee will oversee. The committee will establish and enforce stringent safety protocols to minimize risks and ensure that all treatments meet the highest standards of medical practice. Regular monitoring and evaluation of ongoing therapies will be conducted to promptly address any issues that may arise, thereby maintaining the highest level of patient care.

By embedding these ethical considerations into the foundation of our regulatory framework, we aim to build a healthcare system that is not only innovative but also trustworthy. This commitment to ethics and safety will enhance the credibility of our medical tourism offerings, attracting patients from around the globe who seek advanced, reliable, and ethically sound treatments.

Economic and Social Impact

The enactment of this Bill will significantly boost our economy by positioning The Bahamas as a premier destination for medical and wellness tourism. It will create new jobs, foster educational opportunities, and drive economic growth. More importantly, it will provide our citizens with access to cutting-edge medical treatments that can enhance their quality of life and longevity.

Madam Speaker,

The Bill outlines stringent regulatory and monitoring mechanisms to ensure compliance and accountability in the administration of longevity and regenerative therapies. These mechanisms are vital to maintaining the highest standards of safety and efficacy, as well as fostering trust among all stakeholders involved.

Firstly, the establishment of a dedicated Monitoring Body is a cornerstone of this regulatory framework. This body will be responsible for conducting regular inspections of all facilities engaged in the research and administration of these therapies. The Monitoring Body will assess compliance with established protocols, review the ethical conduct of research, and ensure that all procedures adhere to the rigorous standards set forth in the Bill. Through these regular inspections, we aim to identify and rectify any potential issues before they can impact patient safety or the integrity of the research.

Additionally, the Board established under this Bill will maintain a comprehensive registry of all approved therapies. This registry will serve multiple purposes: it will provide a transparent record of all therapies that have met the stringent approval criteria, facilitate traceability of these therapies from development through to administration, and ensure that all relevant information is accessible to both practitioners and patients. This level of transparency is crucial for maintaining public trust and for enabling informed decision-making by all parties involved.

The Board will also have the authority to mandate the provision of information from any person or entity involved in the administration or research of approved therapies. This includes the power to summon individuals for examination under oath and to access necessary documents and records. Such measures are designed to ensure that all activities are fully transparent and accountable, and that any deviations from approved protocols are swiftly addressed.

Moreover, the Bill empowers the Monitoring Body to oversee the advertising and marketing of approved therapies. This is to ensure that all promotional materials are accurate, ethical, and do not mislead patients or the public. The Monitoring Body will have the authority to take action against any false or misleading claims, thereby protecting the integrity of the therapies and the trust of those who seek them.

Madam Speaker

The regulatory and monitoring mechanisms embedded in this Bill are comprehensive and robust. They are designed to uphold the highest standards of medical practice, ensure the ethical conduct of research, and maintain transparency and accountability at every stage. By implementing these measures, we are committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of our citizens while fostering an environment of innovation and excellence in longevity and regenerative therapies.

Prohibited Acts and Offences

Madam Speaker,

It is crucial to note that this Bill explicitly prohibits a range of unethical practices to safeguard human dignity and maintain the highest ethical standards in medical research and therapy. The prohibited acts include the genetic modification of human embryos for reproductive purposes, ensuring that no individual or entity can alter the genetic makeup of an embryo with the intent of it becoming a living human. This restriction is fundamental to prevent potential abuses and unforeseen consequences of genetic engineering on future generations.

Additionally, the Bill prohibits unauthorized gene therapy testing. This means that no gene therapy can be administered to patients without the proper approvals and informed consent. This provision protects patients from being subjected to experimental treatments that have not been thoroughly vetted for safety and efficacy. It ensures that all gene therapies undergo rigorous evaluation by the Ethics Committee before being used in clinical settings.

Madam Speaker, 

The Bill also bans any research practices that compromise human dignity. This includes, but is not limited to, the purposeful modification of the human germline in adults and the transplantation of edited human embryos into non-human life forms. Such practices could lead to ethical and biological ramifications that we are not equipped to handle, thus their prohibition is necessary to uphold moral and ethical boundaries in scientific research.

Moreover, the use of replicative viruses to deliver therapies is restricted unless specifically approved for a particular treatment by the Ethics Committee. This ensures that any potentially hazardous methods are carefully scrutinized and only utilized when absolutely necessary and deemed safe.

Violations of these prohibitions will attract severe penalties, reflecting the gravity of these offences. Individuals or entities found guilty of these acts will face substantial fines, imprisonment, or both. This stringent approach underscores our unwavering commitment to ethical integrity and the protection of human rights in the advancement of medical science.

Madam Speaker,

These prohibitions and the associated penalties are integral to maintaining the trust and safety of both the Bahamian public and the international community. They ensure that The Bahamas remains a leader in ethical medical research and practice, upholding the highest standards of moral conduct in all scientific endeavors.


Madam Speaker, 

The Longevity and Regenerative Therapies Bill, 2024, represents a bold step forward for The Bahamas. It positions our nation as a leader in the burgeoning field of longevity and regenerative medicine, promising substantial benefits for our economy, our healthcare system, and our citizens.

This Bill is about keeping pace with global advancements; it is about setting a new standard for excellence and innovation. By embracing these cutting-edge therapies, we are ensuring that The Bahamas remains at the forefront of medical science, attracting world-class researchers and practitioners to our shores. This will, in turn, foster an environment of continuous learning and development for our local medical community, raising the standard of care available to our people.

Moreover, the economic implications of this Bill are far-reaching. As we become a hub for medical and wellness tourism, we can expect a significant influx of international visitors seeking advanced treatments. This will stimulate growth across various sectors, including hospitality, transportation, and local businesses, creating numerous job opportunities and driving our economy forward. The ripple effects of this growth will be felt throughout our communities, contributing to a more prosperous and dynamic society.

On a social level, the benefits of this Bill cannot be overstated. Access to advanced longevity and regenerative therapies will enhance the quality of life for our citizens, offering new hope and improved health outcomes for many. By prioritizing ethical standards and patient safety, we are also ensuring that these benefits are delivered with the utmost integrity and respect for human dignity.

Madam Speaker, this Bill reflects our commitment to a healthier, more innovative, and economically vibrant Bahamas.

Thank You Madam Speaker.