Precision medicine key to preventing disease developing later in life, Singapore News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – An individual’s genes can determine the amount of risk he has of developing life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and in turn allows for early intervention.

This is central to the precision medicine programme here, said Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, the chief health scientist from the Ministry of Health and executive director at the Healthcare Transformation Office.

Prof Tan told a webinar on Wednesday (Nov 25) that the programme looks at the genome sequences of participants to help determine the cumulative risks of different diseases based on their genes.

This can be particularly useful for some complaints like premature heart disease, added Prof Tan, who was joined on the webinar panel by Prudential chief executive Dennis Tan and Health Promotion Board (HPB) CEO Zee Yoong Kang.

The event, which covered a broad range of health topics from diabetes and vaccines to strategies on how to stay healthy, is part of The Straits Times Reset 2021 webinar series. It was sponsored by Prudential and moderated by ST senior health correspondent Salma Khalik.

Prof Tan told the webinar that a condition known as familial hypercholesterolemia is caused when a person has a gene that results in high cholesterol levels at a much younger age. If that gene is present, the individual will have up to 20 times higher risk of heart disease – and at an earlier age.

“And then if we identify somebody, we can also test the family. So these preventive strategies will be part of precision health,” he added.

The HPB is working to make use of the clinical, behavioural and digital data as well as genetic data – with patient consent – to identify those at higher risk to allow for early intervention.

Prudential’s Mr Tan said Singaporeans need not be worried about being part of the programme or be concerned if they find out their genome sequences. Having “bad” genes will not make it harder for them to secure insurance policies, he assured.

Privacy is really important, Mr Tan said, adding that “we (Prudential) are very, very careful about such things”.

He said individuals ultimately have to take charge of their own health and should find out more. He said: “Preventive healthcare is all about them being in the driver’s seat, and going through the whole process of early detection, health screening and all.

“So I think as insurers, we will definitely support them.”

Ms Khalik noted that if a person learns that he is at a high risk of getting a certain disease, it will give him the time and opportunity to act before the ailment takes hold.

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Court dismisses dentist’s appeal over tax on earnings, Singapore News & Top Stories

The High Court has dismissed a dentist’s appeal that he should be charged the corporate tax rate for earnings paid to a company he created, finding his main goal in setting it up was to avoid tax.

Justice Choo Han Teck ruled in the first such case to go on appeal to the High Court that Dr Wee Teng Yau’s move would enable him to pay less tax on the same services he provided.

This is because his fees paid into the company would be its income and taxed at the lower corporate tax rate. But if the fees had been paid directly to him, the personal income tax rate – which is higher – would be levied.

Justice Choo’s ruling pivots on a provision in the Income Tax Act, according to judgment grounds released earlier this month.

The provision at issue is Section 33 of the Act.

The tax authorities said last week that Section 33 has been applied to more than 100 medical professionals.

Referring to the section, Justice Choo said it is meant to cover arrangements created by the taxpayer to reduce the taxes which he would otherwise have to pay.

The judge found in this case “the facts show (its) main, if not only, purpose was to enable Dr Wee to avoid tax. This is precisely the type of arrangement that is covered by Section 33(1)”.

The case is the first to be heard before the court as previous such appeals were not pursued beyond the Income Tax Board of Review.

Dr Wee was employed by dental clinic Alfred Cheng Orthodontic Clinic (ACOC) from January 2011 to May 2012.

He set up Straighten (SPL) in May 2012, and was its sole director and shareholder. He continued to provide the same dental services to ACOC’s patients, but ACOC made the payments to SPL instead of to him, the court noted.

SPL, in turn, paid him a salary and director’s fee. Tax-exempt dividends were also declared and paid to him from SPL’s profits.

For assessment year 2012, ACOC paid Dr Wee $279,194.60 in fees.

Between assessment years 2013 and 2016, the fees ACOC paid SPL and reported as SPL’s income totalled $1,470,764.

SPL paid $336,000 in director’s remuneration to Dr Wee who also received tax-exempt dividends totalling $765,205 as a shareholder.

Each year, the remuneration he received from SPL ranged between $40,000 and $110,000. This is significantly lower than the $279,194.60 he got as income in 2011 from ACOC, the court noted.

The Comptroller of Income Tax treated the fees SPL received from ACOC as Dr Wee’s income and imposed the personal income tax rate instead of the corporate tax rate as sought by Dr Wee.

The Income Tax Board of Review affirmed the Comptroller’s position and Dr Wee appealed further.

In the High Court, the Comptroller’s counsel Zheng Sicong and Serene Lau relied on Section 33(1) as the ground for the levy.

But Dr Wee’s lawyer Lau Kah Hee argued, among other things, that Dr Wee would

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Stipe’s late fitness test a Sailors’ ploy?, Football News & Top Stories

Lion City Sailors striker Stipe Plazibat will face a late fitness test to decide if he will be ready for today’s high-stakes showdown against Singapore Premier League (SPL) leaders Albirex Niigata.

The 31-year-old Croat is the competition’s leading scorer with 14 goals, but hobbled off with a hamstring strain in the 3-1 win over Hougang United on Tuesday.

Sailors coach Aurelio Vidmar refuted the notion that he is keeping their opponents guessing. The Australian, 53, said: “We will make the decision on Sunday morning. My interest is the player’s health. If he is going to do more damage, then we won’t take the risk.

“If this was a cup final or the final game of the season, then it’s a completely different story. There’s no question we would try to play him because if he breaks down we are going into a break.

“But this situation is a bit different, a bit more delicate.”

What is undoubtedly clear are the stakes at hand. There are just five games left and this clash between first and third in the table will have a huge bearing on the championship.

The Sailors are three points behind Albirex, champions from 2016 to 2018, but will leapfrog them with a win. A loss however, will create a six-point deficit that may be too much to overcome.

The other title contenders, Tampines Rovers, also have 20 points like Albirex and travel to face Tanjong Pagar United in today’s other match.

Vidmar, the former Australia captain and coach, remains confident of his side’s ability to hit the back of the net regardless of Plazibat’s availability.

The Sailors have notched 29 goals, with 10 different scorers. Both are league-leading numbers.

They will also welcome back dynamic midfielder Song Ui-young from a head injury, while playmaker Shahdan Sulaiman, who was sorely missed in the 3-2 defeat when both sides met last month, has also returned. He will be a threat from set pieces.

Vidmar said: “Goals are a big part of Stipe’s game, and his link-up play has been very good. But the beauty of our team is everyone is itching to play and the guys who have come in have stepped up and done an amazing job.

“That’s the commitment and competition I want in the team.

“So, we are in good shape. Shahril (Ishak) is back in the team, we have Gabriel Quak, we can put Adam Swandi there, we can put Hafiz Nor up front.

“We have options, players with different characteristics and playing styles, which is a plus.”

His team are excellent front runners too. While 26 of the 36 SPL games this term have been won by the side that scores first, the Sailors are masters of this. They have picked up the full three points in all the five matches they have opened the scoring.

But standing in their way is an obdurate Albirex defence that has kept three consecutive clean sheets and a winning mentality.

Seven of their 22 goals have come

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Business Insider’s top advertising and media stories for November 13

Hi! Welcome to the Insider Advertising daily for November 13. I’m Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter at Business Insider. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. Send me feedback or tips at [email protected]

First: We are looking for nominations for the top PR firms in the tech industry. Nominations are open until November 18.

Today’s news: L’Oréal’s US chief marketing officer Gretchen Saegh-Fleming leaves for at-home fitness startup Hydrow, inside WarnerMedia’s huge layoffs, and how Jennifer Prosek became a star in financial PR.



L’Oréal’s US CMO has jumped to at-home fitness startup Hydrow, which just raised $25 million as it aims to take on Peloton and Mirror

Read the full story here.

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar

Jason Kilar.


Inside WarnerMedia as huge layoffs hit the company and speculation swirls around the futures of CNN and HBO Max

Read the full story here.

Jennifer Prosek, managing partner of Prosek Partners

Jennifer Prosek, managing partner of Prosek Partners, speaks at the Page Spring Seminar in 2015.


Inside the rise of Jennifer Prosek, who went from upstart to financial public relations juggernaut who spins for clients like Goldman Sachs and Bridgewater Associates

Read the full story here.

More stories we’re reading:

 Thanks for reading and see you on Monday! You can reach me in the meantime at [email protected] and subscribe to this daily email here.

— Lauren

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Business Insider’s biggest healthcare stories for November 2.

Welcome to Business Insiders daily healthcare newsletter, your daily dose of pharma, biotech, and healthcare news. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday.

Pills 2 (2)

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider


Happy election day eve. I’m Megan, the healthcare team’s startups and venture capital reporter. I’m filling in for Lydia, who’s still on her cross-country move to Colorado. I’m covering a lot these days, but I’m been particularly interested in digital health startups that employ gig workers.

Know any that fit the bill? Shoot me a note: [email protected]

First: Dr. Anthony Fauci warned in an interview with The Washington Post that the US needs to make an “abrupt change” to halt a surge in coronavirus cases. And President Donald Trump told supporters that he might fire Fauci after the election.

Here’s the rest of today’s healthcare news: Rock Health identified 17 startups that are ripe for an IPO, the founder of shuttered senior care startup Call9 is back with a familiar venture, and healthcare executives are favoring Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden when it comes to their personal campaign donations. 

Alto Pharmacy CEO Matt Gamache-Asselin and chief technology officer Jamie Karraker

Alto Pharmacy CEO Matt Gamache-Asselin and chief technology officer Jamie Karraker

Alto Pharmacy

Digital health companies are racing to go public. Here are the 17 startups that are ripe for a Wall Street debut.

  • Analysts from Rock Health, a healthcare venture and advisory firm, told Blake Dodge that the flurry of digital health initial public offerings in 2019 and 2020 was no fluke, according to a July report. 
  • At least nine such companies have gone public in the last 17 months, including Livongo, Health Catalyst, Change Healthcare, Peloton, and Hims. 
  • The firm is keeping a running list of companies that are ripe for an IPO, given their funds compared to the average amount for a digital health startup pre-IPO, which is $187 million.
  • They’re not predictions per se, but a spokesperson for the company said that if companies do end up going public, they will likely be on this list of 17 best-funded startups.

Read the full story from Blake here>>

timothy peck rob macnaughton curve health

Curve Health founder Dr. Timothy Peck (left) and CEO Rob MacNaughton.

Curve Health

We got an exclusive look at the 16-slide presentation the founder of a failed telehealth startup that convinced investors to give him another shot at digital health

Read my full story here>>

biden trump regular


We combed through records of 100 healthcare companies to see who their top executives are donating to in the 2020 election. They reveal a surprising trend.

Read the full story from Kimberly Leonard here>>

More stories we’re reading:

Lydia will be back at the newsletter helm tomorrow. In the meantime, please send any and all startups-related tips to [email protected]

– Megan

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Senate Democrats highlight Black maternal health care stories amid confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett

In emails to TheGrio, senators expressed concern over Obamacare’s future with Barrett on the high court.

Democrats U.S. senators are sharing stories of African American moms who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The lawmakers are hoping to bring attention to the tens of millions of people ensured under former President Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation, which could be overturned by the Supreme Court when Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed. 

Significantly, Black maternal health could be most at risk if the ACA is struck down. 

A vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, shown testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of her confirmation hearing, is slated to take place on Monday. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)
A vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, shown testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of her confirmation hearing, is slated to take place on Monday. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

In an email exclusive to TheGrio, several Democratic senators expressed concern over Obamacare’s future.

“Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court is a severe threat to the ACA – and a significant risk to worsening the disparities seen in maternal health,” writes Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal. 

Read More: Amy Coney Barrett ruled n-word use does not make a workplace hostile

“We must be working to find comprehensive solutions to address the Black maternal health crisis facing this country, not nominating radical judges looking to potentially strip health care from those who need it most,” Blumenthal opines. “There should be no exceptions, no disparities when it comes to maternal health. Every parent deserves access to the quality, affordable care and support they need to have a healthy pregnancy, birth and baby.”

According to, “before Obamacare made coverage guaranteed issue, pregnancy itself was also considered a pre-existing condition that would prevent an expectant parent — male or female — from obtaining coverage in all but five states.”

Read More: Amy Coney Barrett says she and Haitian-born daughter ‘wept together’ after Floyd death

The MOMS Act reintroduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is comprised of three components aimed at reducing pregnancy complications and deaths. 

It would authorize and expand the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) Program at the Health and Human Services Department through 2023. The act would create a grant program to help states and hospitals implement maternal safety best practices. Lastly, it would improve reporting on pregnancy-related and pregnancy-associated deaths and complications.

Read More: Trump says Fauci is ‘terrific guy’ but not ‘team player’

Gillibrand, a former Democratic presidential nominee, wrote that the MOMS Act is necessary to “address racial disparities in maternal health and provide resources to health providers to prevent these complications from happening before, during and after childbirth.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that “wide racial/ethnic gaps exist between non-Hispanic black (37.1 per 100,000 live births), non-Hispanic white (14.7), and Hispanic (11.8) women, which is consistent with earlier data.” 

That means a Black woman is twice as likely to die in childbirth than a White woman. 

Read More: High court allows 3-day extension for Pennsylvania ballots

“There is

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