by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN
Pharmaniaga Bhd is planning to produce its own halal-certified vaccines within the next five years, said deputy MD Mohamed Iqbal Abdul Rahman (picture).
Mohamed Iqbal said the pharmaceutical group is currently completing the upgrading works at its manufacturing site Puchong, Selangor, which has received the halal status from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim).
The facility is expected to be in full operation for vaccine production in 2024.
“Our board has approved to go ahead with the halal vaccine production project, which includes the upgrading of our facilities as well as the production of our own halal vaccines produced by Pharmaniaga, which is planned to be executed in four to five years.
“The vaccine will be the first halal-certified vaccine for us and will be marketed globally, as supposed to the vaccines that we are currently doing the fill-and-finish, currently only being marketed in Malaysia,” he said.
Currently, Pharmaniaga is conducting the fill-and-finish processes for vaccines produced by countries such as India, China, Russia, Thailand and South Korea.
Upon completion, its small volume injectable plant in Puchong will be the first halal-certified pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Malaysia.
Previously, it was reported that Pharmaniaga is setting aside about RM100 million to for the development of the halal vaccine facility, which includes upgrading works on its existing 26,013 sq m building in Puchong.
Moving forward, the group will be expanding its presence in the private market, leveraging on its over-the-counter products, at the same time, continue bidding for government’s concession, said its MD MD Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope.
“Moving forward, we are not only going to depend on government contracts but also on the private market because, in terms of supplying the ethical drugs throughout the country, the private market has more value.
“The board has approved for us to spend about 1% of our revenue on the promotional of these new products next year,” he said.
Zulkarnain added that Pharmaniaga has been reaching out to the government to request for an extension of the concession which will end in 2021 or bidding for a new concession to be able to continue supplying affordable medicines to the country.
“We hope to conclude the talk before the end of next year. But due to the current situation, we are prioritising in helping the government to provide the best solution for the Covid-19 situation,” he said.
Last year, the government extended Pharmaniaga’s services for the provision of medicines and medical supplies to Health Ministry’s facilities, which ended in November 2019, to December 31, 2021
Its wholly-owned Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd also allowed continuing providing logistics and distribution services to the ministry for five years ending December 31 2024.
Pharmaniaga shares dropped 13 sen or 2.27% to RM5.59 today, with a market capitalisation of RM1.46 billion.