Halal pharmaceuticals in accordance to Islam
Halal is Arabic term referred as permissible. From the aspect of food consumption, halal foods are permissible, while impure foods are considered haram and are forbidden for consumption. A similar interpretation can be applied for pharmaceuticals.
According to the Senior Director of the Pharmaceutical Services Programme, Ministry of Health, Dr Ramli Zainal: “In general, halal pharmaceuticals are products that contain only ingredients permitted under the shariah law and processed under strict hygiene and quality standards. However, halal certification must remain voluntary.”
He explains: “Doctors and pharmacists are responsible in providing an informed choice to the patient when it comes to medicines taking.”
MAKING DISINFORMED DECISION WITH HALAL
This initiative is in line with patient’s right as a Muslim to be informed and have access to halal medications, the choice of medications available and to provide consent for use of non-halal medications.
“Patients need to understand the origin of their medication options and they should be encouraged to exercise their rights to make informed choices for their treatment.
GUIDELINE ON HALAL PHARMA
“In 2018, Pharmaceutical Services Programme (PSP) published a guideline entitled ‘Panduan Penggunaan Ubat-Ubatan dari Perspektif Islam’ to provide guidance for healthcare providers in order to facilitate Muslim patients in making an informed choice.”
The publication act as a reference for healthcare providers to provide insight and clarification on the aspect of medicinal use so that there is no doubt and confusion.
The initiative gives consumers more choices. He says: “Of late, consumers are becoming more concerned on what they consume and are cautious on what is written on the product label.”
AFFIXING THE HALAL LOGO
He explains that the Drug Control Authority only allows halal logo to be affixed onto cosmetics, traditional products, health supplements and over-the-counter (OTC) products before the products are marketed.
Dr Ramli tells that commonly, gelatins are derived from animal sources such as bovine and porcine.
“As a measure to ensure protection for the consumers, manufacturers and product registration holders are required to declare the source of gelatin during registration process with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).
MAINTAINING HALAL STANDARDS
The PSP was involved in developing the MS2424:2012 which is the Halal Pharmaceuticals – General Guidelines. The officers are also in the technical committee and working group for the latest revision of the MS2424.
According to Dr Ramli, we will be seeing and update in the standard guideline. “The latest revision MS2424:2019 Halal Pharmaceuticals – General Requirement will include some amendments and inclusion of additional definitions and clauses which will include a new annex: Halal Control Point and Vaccine Manufacturing Process.”
LEADING THE WAY
Dr Ramli believes that Malaysia can take advantage of having a Malaysian Standard for halal pharmaceutical towards becoming a leader in the global halal trade.
“The Pharmaceutical Services Programme had recently participated in the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) meeting, which was coordinated by Standards Malaysia.”
SMIIC was established to facilitate the harmonisation of standards among the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries and for the preparation of new ones.
“MS2424 is used as the main reference to develop a harmonized halal pharmaceutical standard to eliminate technical barriers to trade and thus promoting business among OIC countries.”
Malaysia is set to be the leader in halal pharmaceuticals by setting the standards for which it can be certified. And looking at how the Malaysian standard for halal pharmaceuticals has been made a benchmark for other countries, we are sure to excel in the global halal trade. — The Health
Malaysia is set to be the leader in halal pharmaceuticals by setting the standards for which it can be certified. And looking at how the Malaysian standard for halal pharmaceuticals has been made a benchmark for other countries, we are sure to excel in the global halal trade.”