Use Malaysia As Regional Halal Hub, Pharmaceutical Makers Urged

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia has called on global pharmaceutical producers to consider the country as the new regional hub to cater for the expanding global halal market. In making the call, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said local industry players should also keep track of the latest know-how and technologies. "Local industry players should double their efforts to position Malaysia at the forefront of the global healthcare and pharmaceutical industry," he said when opening the Halal Initiatives in Healthcare Industry Forum here today.

Also present were International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Halal Industry Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Jamil Bidin. Ahmad Zahid said the global demand for halal pharmaceuticals is estimated to be worth a staggering RM349 billion (USD82 billion) but the current supply is estimated at only RM8.5 million (USD2 million), leaving a very big gap of RM340 million (USD80 million) worth of business opportunities waiting to be explored. "There is certainly a huge opportunity here with a very promising future and this is where Malaysia holds some of the keys. As at August this year, there were already 110 Halal-certified pharmaceutical manufacturers in Malaysia including 24 export-ready manufacturers.

"Malaysia is also one of the few countries in the region that have been accepted into the Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme. "This indicates that the local industry has established high manufacturing standards," he said, adding this would further open up Malaysia exports to member countries of the scheme, including members of the European Union, Australia and Canada.

"One potential area that is ripe for exploration is herbal-based food supplements and over-the-counter medicines. With the right ingredients, these products can be converted into halal products. "There are also opportunities to capitalise on Malaysia's diverse natural flora and fauna to develop resource-based bio-generic drugs.

"Malaysia is one of the world's 12 most bio-diverse countries and offers high potential for sourcing active compounds for healing and wellness products," he said. On Halal tourism, Ahmad Zahid said Malaysia is the top destination and as a leader, the nation could certainly complement the wider medical tourism sector especially for Muslims worldwide. Malaysia expects to see overall arrivals of more than 930,000 medical tourists with estimated revenue reaching RM1 billion annually, he said.

Sourced from: Bernama |28 October 2015