The Health December 2020 - Page 16

Large pharmaceutical companies in best position to provide training and information on halal pharmaceuticals

16

The Health | december , 2020

| Halal Health |

Taking the lead in halal training

Large pharmaceutical companies in best position to provide training and information on halal pharmaceuticals

BY CAMILIA REZALI

The importance of the halal logo

is becoming more relevant to us . More and more people want halal food , halal financial services , halal cosmetics and halal health products .
We are even looking forward to a halalcertified Covid-19 vaccine .
While many might prefer halal products , some especially non-Muslims , do not understand the true concept of halal . ‘ Halal ’ is more understood as a religious concept rather than a lifestyle concept .
But what about the understanding of halal in the pharmaceutical industry ?
Having a clear insight into halal and halal pharmaceuticals is exceedingly vital , notably among medical professionals and patients or consumers . This is to ensure professionals such as doctors and pharmacists can provide the right information so consumers and patients can make the correct choice of medication .
According to a pharmacist from Well-On Pharmacy Sdn Bhd , Santhanathan Rajendran : “ I doubt there is enough knowledge on halal pharmaceuticals and the concept behind the halal logo for pharmacists , especially among non-Muslims .
“ Unless they attend training . There is less dissemination of information and pharmacists don ’ t have enough background information ,” said Santhanathan .
Muslim pharmacists will not have issues on understanding the halal concept compared to non-Muslims . He believed the misconception happens when they think halal products are only for Muslims .
“ To break the misconception , the dissemination of information on halal pharmaceuticals is vital . And the right companies to do this will be leaders in the industry .
Santhanathan went for training conducted by Duopharma Biotech Berhad , a leader in the pharmaceutical industry .
“ I became more aware of what constitutes halal such as to the process and its importance ,” he said .
As more information is shared , there will be less misconception . It will also help the pharmacists become better informed and thus help the public to make a better choice of medications .
Are pharmacists aware of halal ?
Pharmacists are more aware of halal pharmaceutical products as there are times when they need to deal with Muslim customers .
Santhanathan said : “ When we serve a Muslim customer , automatically our priority is to show them a halal product .
“ If there are no other alternatives for halal products , then we show them ones without a halal logo but which do not contain porcine ( pig ) ingredients ,” he said .
Either way , pharmacists uphold their integrity by being truthful to customers when it comes to products which are certified halal by an international authority instead of the local authority .
Consumers will be provided with all the information , and the choice is theirs .
It is not a matter of selling the product alone . It is more about providing the right information for the patients to make a choice .
As there is less dissemination of information on halal products , pharmacists are very much dependent on the presence of the halal logo .
“ The halal logo itself is crucial . I can confidently recommend products with a halal logo to customers . It cannot go wrong .
“ For me , the halal logo is the standard . However , we will request for an authorisation letter for products which do not have the JAKIM-certified halal logo ,” he added .
Availability of substitutes for halal products
If a specific halal medication requested by a customer is not available , are substitute products readily available ? “ Only a few ,” disclosed Santhanathan . “ Choices of substitutes would be available for the basic medicines such as for diarrhoea , cough and cold .
“ Substitutes , especially for original drugs , are not easily available for patients . Supplements are much easier to recommend as they usually come with a halal logo .”
Pharmacists hold a responsibility to follow precisely the medications prescribed by the doctor .
“ Pharmacists cannot suggest any substitute products to customers . If the patient insists on having a halal-based product , we will ask them to refer to the doctor to see if there is any other choice ,” he clarified .
Pharmacists can only suggest a range of medicines and making the right decision is with the customers . And for that , they would need to be trained and well-informed . — The Health