The Penang International Halal Expo and Conference (PIHEC) is an annual trade exhibition for halal consumable and non-consumable products. Hosted by the Penang state government under its halal facilitation agency, Halal Penang, PIHEC positions itself as a convenient and effective one-stop centre for Halal exporters and importers sourcing domestic and international products from Northern Malaysia and the IMT-GT region.
First organised in 2010, PIHEC also hosts a one-day international conference, held on the second day of the exhibition, where speakers deliberated halal industry issues and solutions, review latest research findings, and discuss emerging technologies and trends in line with the advancements in the halal industry.
In the recent PIHEC 2019 conference, one of the most recurring topics of discussion has been the halal status of many pharmaceuticals and medical products sold in stores or used in hospitals nationwide.
Some of the pharmaceutical-related topics presented include Muslim Centric Hospitality: Role of Healthcare Industries by Brigadier General Dato’ Dr A Halim Basari, Malaysian Armed Forces Health Services (MAFHS); Halal Centric Pharmacy Practice by Amrahi Buang of the Malaysia Pharmaceutical Society; and Medical and Wellness Tourism Trends and Opportunities by Mrs Marini Md Saari from the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC).
Halal pharmaceutical expert Prof Zhari Ismail of Universiti Sains Malaysia, meanwhile talked about Doubtful Ingredients in Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Products: A Fatwa Perspective, while Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail of Immunise4Life presented on the topic Health Care and Immunisation: Medical Community vs Muslim Public Perspectives.
However, the most interesting was the keynote presentation by Wan Amir-Jeffery Wan Abdul Majid, Chief Operating Officer of Duopharma Biotech Berhad titled Addressing the Muslim Market Demand of Halal Pharmaceuticals.
In his presentation, Wan Amir-Jeffery highlighted the right for informed choice in medicine taking for patients, where patients have the right for medicinal advise while observing a halal diet, as well as the right to understand the origins of their proposed medication.
“It is part of the “informed consent” policy for a patient and the first step for medical practitioners to show respect to their beliefs. Patients should be encouraged to make informed decisions regarding their treatment,” he said.
He went on to illustrate the steady growth of the halal pharmaceutical industry, and the factors supporting its growth. These include the increased spending on pharmaceutical products by Muslim consumers worldwide; the increased in Halal pharma-certified product variety, as well as the increase in investment and interest in the halal market by other countries.
“Duopharma Biotech is the first pharmaceutical company to obtain the MS1500 Malaysian Halal certification for its health supplements under the brands CHAMPS, Flavettes, Proviton and Naturalle, and we are also the first pharmaceutical company to obtain the MS 2424:2012 Malaysia halal pharmaceutical certification for our OTC products and prescriptive medicines.
“As you can see, for us, producing halal pharmaceutical products is not just about profits; it is our inherent duty or ‘fardhu kifayah’ to producing safe, efficacious, high quality, hygienic and halal pharmaceutical products for use by all Muslims worldwide. That is our commitment,” he added.