Malaysia has emerged as a global leader in the halal pharmaceutical industry, showcasing robust growth and adherence to Islamic principles in the production and distribution of medicines. With a focus on stringent certification processes, regulatory bodies, and industry collaboration, Malaysia has paved the way for the evolution of halal pharmaceuticals.
The journey began with the introduction of the Halal Pharmaceuticals Standard MS2424 in 2012, overseen by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim). According to Prof Amrahi Buang, President of the Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS), the industry has witnessed significant growth, ranking second in size after the food industry.
The export value of Malaysia’s halal pharmaceuticals reached RM401 million in 2019, showcasing a notable increase attributed to growing global demand for halal-certified products. The rising Muslim population worldwide and supportive government initiatives have further fueled the industry’s development, according to Muhammad Farahi Arif, CEO of Farmasi Al Arif Sdn Bhd.
Key players such as Duopharma Biotech Bhd, Pharmaniaga Bhd, Ain Medicare Sdn Bhd, and the Halal Development Corp Bhd (HDC) have played crucial roles in supporting the industry, both nationally and internationally.
Malaysian companies have invested in technology and production capacities, leveraging Islamic finance support. Muhammad Faris Badarudin, MD of Ideal Nauticare Sdn Bhd, emphasised the importance of regulatory frameworks, international collaborations, effective marketing, and participation in global trade events in enhancing Malaysia’s pharmaceutical presence.
To achieve halal certification, pharmaceutical products undergo registration with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority (NPRA) before voluntary halal audits by Jakim. These audits ensure compliance with stringent standards covering raw material sourcing, manufacturing processes, and distribution.
Amrahi highlighted that the government has positioned halal-certified pharmaceuticals as a major economic initiative for post-pandemic recovery. The Halal Pharmaceuticals Standard MS2424, introduced in 2019, provides guidelines for the incorporation of halal principles throughout the manufacturing process, offering industrial players a competitive edge.
Initiatives such as the Halal Industry Master Plan 2030 (HIMP 2030) and events like the Malaysian International Halal Showcase (Mihas) play pivotal roles in fostering international collaborations and promoting the growth of halal industries.
Despite the industry’s success, challenges persist, including diverse halal certification standards globally and inconsistent enforcement. However, Malaysia’s leading position in the OIC/SMIIC Technical Committee on Halal Pharmaceuticals (TC16) allows it to set global standards.
As Malaysian pharmaceutical companies face global expansion challenges, there are opportunities to demonstrate expertise in producing high-quality halal pharmaceuticals. The industry’s dual assurance of halal integrity and quality positions Malaysia competitively in the global market, reflecting its commitment to shaping the landscape of the halal pharmaceutical sector.