(From left) Amrahi, Dr Zaki, Leonard and Tehmina at the WHC 2020 webinar series spotlighting the halal pharmaceutical industry.

KUCHING: Halal Development Corporation (HDC), Duopharma Biotech Bhd (Duopharma Biotech) and KPJ Healthcare Bhd (KPJ) yesterday joined forces to boost the global halal market in a successful webinar held in conjunction with the World Halal Conference 2020.

Around 500 top industry players gathered online to participate in a webinar held in conjunction with the World Halal Conference (WHC) 2020 webinar series spotlighting the halal pharmaceutical industry.

The webinar, entitled ‘Embracing a Halal Pharmaceutical Eco-System’, was organised by HDC in collaboration with Duopharma Biotech and KPJ, hosted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti).

The Hybrid Webinar, which was held live at the HDC premises at Petaling Jaya, featured keynote speaker KPJ’s Group Medical Advisory Committee chairman Datuk Dr Zaki Morad Mohamed Zaher.

Dr Zaki’s insightful delivery was entitled ‘Adapting the halal concept in the healthcare eco-system and its impact on economy (trade and investment), knowledge management and best practices’.

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion themed ‘Embracing A Halal Pharmaceutical Eco-System’.

Panellists included Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) president Amrahi Buang, Duopharma Biotech group managing director Leonard Ariff Abdul Shatar and Islamic Development Bank’s senior global health specialist Dr Ammar Abdo Ahmed, who joined the panel via online from Ottawa, Canada.

The session was moderated by Tehmina Kaoosji, an independent broadcast journalist.

According to Leonard, the webinar addressed the vital need to build a stronger and more engaged community within the halal pharmaceutical ecosystem in order to enhance the Malaysian healthcare industry.

Besides highlighting market trends and public healthcare needs connected with the halal concept, the webinar brought to light the boundless potential of halal pharma for the healthcare industry.

He added that the trailblazing MS2424:2012 halal pharmaceutical standard is rapidly gaining universal acceptance and that its evolution – the MS2424:2019 – has significantly expanded the scope of halal certification to address rising demand in biologics and the search for halal vaccines.

“Malaysia’s global leadership serves to facilitate the successful entry of domestic pharmaceutical manufacturers into the global halal pharmaceutical market, which is forecasted to be valued at US$134 billion by 2024,” Leonard added.

Malaysia’s halal pharmaceutical ecosystem is further boosted by the MS: 2424 Halal Pharmaceutical General Guidelines, which address the entire supply chain from processing to retail.

Hygiene, sanitation and safety are the key pre-requisites in the halal pharmaceutical manufacturing process in which Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) is a compulsory requirement in the preparation of halal pharmaceutical products.

“Indeed, these strict requirements for certification translate into an additional layer to drive quality assurance, resulting in a higher benchmark for quality standards. Halal certification in the manufacturing process is now acknowledged as a most significant value-add in the pharmaceutical industry,” he said.

HDC chief executive officer Hairol Ariffein Sahari was pleased to note the good response from industry players and thanked both Duopharma Biotech and KPJ for joining forces with HDC to successfully organise the webinar and kickstart future thought leadership programmes.

“We have put together this platform to tap the lucrative market in the halal healthcare industry with special emphasis on the halal pharmaceutical,” Hairol said.

“Our exports of halal pharmaceuticals recorded steady growth, valued at RM401 million in 2019 compared with RM395 million in 2018.

“The total halal export for the year 2019 was RM40.2 billion. The items exported were halal medicinal pharmaceuticals which included health supplements, generic products and traditional herbs-based products.”

“The major export destinations in 2019 were the USA, Singapore, Nigeria, Hong Kong and The People’s Republic of China.

“The increase in demand directly offers industry players a unique opportunity to enhance halal as the value proposition for halal pharmaceutical products.”