It became the first manufacturer in Malaysia to obtain halal certification from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) in 1999 under the range of health supplements. In early 2017, it achieved another critical milestone when it received accreditation as the first company to obtain halal certification for prescription medicines.
Asked to comment on the calls for a halal Covid-19 vaccine, its Group Managing Director Leonard Ariff Abdul Shatar said in 2018, the Ministry of Health (MoH) published the guideline on the use of medicines or drugs from Islam’s perspectives.
“Several questions need to be taken into account like is the medication halal, is it safe for consumption and in cases of emergency, what should the Muslim patient do, and this is where healthcare practitioners and clerics came to a consensus understanding.
“The special meeting of the Muzakarah Committee of the Fatwa National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs, which convened on Dec 3, 2020, has taken a resolution that the use of Covid-19 vaccine is obligatory (wajib) to be taken by the groups identified by the government and permissible (harus) for others.
“Similar fatwa has been issued by other religious authorities worldwide where the use of Covid-19 vaccine is permissible (harus) to be taken by Muslims. They are the Al-Azhar al-Syarif University (Egypt), the Fatwa Council of the United Arab Emirates, Majma ’Fuqaha’ al-Shari’ah (US), the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) and the Office of the Mufti of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS).
Leonard Ariff said “halal” was part of the pre-requisites in Duopharma Biotech’s product development plans and a pillar in Duopharma’s 7-year Strategy Plan, and the company had several projects in the pipeline, including specialised vaccines.
On the size of the halal vaccine market in Malaysia, he said the vaccine market in Malaysia in 2020 was approximately RM296 million. Currently, the relevant agencies, including JAKIM, are developing the framework for halal-certified vaccines.