PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY OF SINGAPORE (PSS) LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD CONFERRED POSTHUMOUSLY TO MR KOE KHOON POH
AT THE 24TH SINGAPORE PHARMACY CONGRESS, SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, SINGAPORE, 18 OCTOBER 2014
Mr Koe Khoon Poh was a brilliant entrepreneur. He single-handedly founded Woods International Pte Ltd, a trading entity in 1970 which is now the marketing arm of veterinary products in Singapore and Malaysia. He started manufacturing in 1975 under the Carrington brand, obtained Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification from the Ministry of Health for production of human pharmaceuticals in 1980 and was the founder and director of ICM Pharma, one of the largest local pharmaceutical manufacturers in the small and medium enterprises category in Singapore.
He was a visionary leader, a passionate and committed pharmacist who took pride in his profession and contributed significantly to it. He was the President, Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore (PSS) from 1979 to 1981. He set up the PSS office, used his own money to purchase desk and cabinet for the office, lobbied pharmacists to don white coats and name tags and designed the new PSS logo to create a professional image. He was instrumental in the promulgation of the New Code of Ethics for pharmacists which was proposed by PSS and accepted by the Singapore Pharmacy Board as the basis of Professional Practice in 1981. The Singapore Pharmacy Board also endorsed the guidelines on Pupilage for pharmacy graduates, mooted by PSS in 1981 which forms the basis of the current pre-registration pharmacist training.
He was elected President of PSS for a second term from 1991 to 1993 and during this term he instituted the asthma and cardiac medication counseling, started the first PSS Pharmacy Technician Course, and the first PSS – Schering Plough Community Practice Series Continuing Education for pharmacists.
A man with a big heart, he generously donated $100,000 to PSS in 2005 as an endowment fund for the professional development of pharmacists in Singapore.
PSS will remember Khoon Poh as our professional father, historian, and mentor. He was present at every annual general meeting and pharmacy congress if his schedule allowed him, so that he could provide feedback, talk to current leaders and discuss issues and share past experiences. His deep understanding of the history and pharmacy landscape and selfless sharing with younger generations was his hobby. He often offered encouragement to young pharmacists, supported activities of pharmacy undergraduates, and donated $10,000 yearly to National University of Singapore Pharmaceutical Society (NUSPS), the pharmacy student body. He was a diplomat of distinction with an exceptional gift of connecting people to drive a common course. He was able to lead, galvanise and connect leaders with important stakeholders for example the pharmacists dialogue with Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong in 2012.
He was active in his networking with other healthcare professionals, especially the doctors and dentists. He was active in National University of Singapore (NUS) Alumni affairs and as a result, he served two terms as Chairman of the Singapore Alumni Association Southern Branch (Medical) covering Medical, Dental and Pharmacy Alumni from 2009 to 2010 and form 2011 to 2013. He was also a member of the NUS Alumni Advisory Board since 2009. In 2010, he chaired a committee to raise $400,000 for the Alumni Association Endowment Fund – Dr Chee Phui Hung Bursary for needy Medical, Dental and Pharmacy undergraduates. With government matching, the sum now stands at $1 million.
Not forgetting his love for manufacturing, he was founder chairman of the Singapore Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Council (SPMC) in 1986 and remained as chairman for most part of its existence. SPMC is the recognized national body for Pharmaceutical Manufacturer for secondary products in Singapore and a component of ASEAN Pharmaceutical Industry Club (APC) of which he was the president from 1988 to 1990.
A man of many talents and resourcefulness, Khoon Poh held many key positions. He was Vice Chairman of the Life Sciences Industry Group (LSIG, an industry group under the Singapore Manufacturers’ Federation) which he helped found. He sat in committees such as the Singapore Pharmacy Board, SIngapore Pharmacy Council, Pharmaceutical Quality Control Advisory Committee, Singapore Health Advisory Committee, Government Parliamentary Committee (Health) Resource Panel, Protem Accreditation Committee on Continuing Pharmacy Education and many committees on trade and professional practice.
Internationally, he led five missions to promote Singapore-made health products to Indonesia, USA, India, Taiwan and Philippines under the sponsorship of International Enterprise (IE) Singapore.
Besides this, he was a generous sponsor and donor of many health-related community projects in Singapore and he also donated medicinal products to overseas relief missions.
For his numerous significant contributions to his vocation, society and relentless pursuit of excellence for his profession, he won many awards and accolades. These include:
Ladies and gentlemen, I can only describe Khoon Poh’s achievements as one who was dedicated to the calling of an entrepreneur, who excelled as an industrial pharmacist of distinction and a wise leader with a big heart and hence a well-deserved recipient of the PSS Lifetime Achievement Award.