The Health November 2020 - Page 16

Sound knowledge of halal medicines is associated with a positive perception
A new method is on the cards which can add value to the halal pharmaceutical verification and authentication procedure


The Health | November , 2020

| Halal Health |

Insights into the halal pharmaceutical industry

The Malaysian halal food and products industry is expanding rapidly . Increasing demand locally and abroad has seen many local companies jumping onto the halal bandwagon . One growing sector is halal pharmaceuticals . The Health spoke to lecturers and pharmacists from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia ( UKM ), who are also members of the Halal

Creating higher awareness for halal pharmaceuticals

Sound knowledge of halal medicines is associated with a positive perception

While there might be an increasing demand for halal food and products , the concept of halal pharmaceuticals is still relatively new .
It is thus apt that Dr Adliah Mohd Ali , a pharmacist and lecturer from the Faculty of Pharmacy , Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia ( UKM ), is looking into the awareness level of the general public towards halal pharmaceuticals .
She is the principal investigator of ‘ Knowledge , Attitude and Perception ( KAP ) of Halal Pharmaceutical among General Public in Klang Valley ’. The research is looking into the awareness level towards halal pharmaceuticals , particularly on the consumer perspective .
Adliah explained : “ We are aware that among Muslim consumers there is an increasing demand for halal food and products . However , the concept of halal pharmaceuticals is quite new .”
“ So , this study is to provide meaningful information to gauge public perception generally , and I think this data will provide an insight into the pharmaceutical industry . The consumer perspective is really important .”
The study was conducted by looking into the public KAP with voluntary participation of around 400 respondents .
Public KAP on halal pharmaceuticals
“ For knowledge , we find out that the majority answered correctly for the first and second section , which was
Pharmaceutical Business Initiatives ( HPBI-UKM ), to get their take on key topics such as research , consuming medicines while fasting , halal SMEs and halal verification and authentication . These initiatives are a collaborative effort between Duopharma Biotech Berhad and academia in relation to scientific and socialsciences research-based projects for halal pharmaceuticals .
on the general knowledge on halal and definition of halal . However , it is quite interesting to find that in the third section , which is regarding the use of alcohol , we found that one-third of them were unsure .”
The study on attitude and perception showed that many of them strongly agree with discussing halal pharmaceuticals with healthcare professionals and would prefer to be provided more information .
“ They need to talk to doctors or pharmacists about the products to understand the details and ingredients , if it is allowed or not . They want healthcare providers to educate them .”
“ They also highlighted that they appreciate if the appropriate government agency looked into this matter about educating them .”
It was concluded that a sound knowledge of halal pharmaceuticals is associated with a positive perception .
“ In a way , we can see that when someone has a good knowledge regarding halal and Halalan Toyyiban , it will influence positively on how they perceive halal pharmaceuticals .”
The study also covered the socio-demographic factors that influence the public ’ s KAP on halal pharmaceuticals .
“ Significant factors associated with their knowledge , attitude and perception on halal pharmaceuticals are race , the level of education and the state of health .” — The Health

Simple rapid test for halal authentication

A new method is on the cards which can add value to the halal pharmaceutical verification and authentication procedure

As the halal pharmaceutical industry continues to grow , many aspects have to be further studied and developed not only to the industry itself but more importantly to the scientific community . A lot of research needs to be done to strengthen halal pharmaceutical standards and quality .
Dr Mazlina Mohd Said , a pharmacist lecturer from Faculty of Pharmacy , Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia ( UKM ), said : “ We see healthy economic growth and promising financial benefits that fuel demand for diversified halal products .
“ We could see the expansion of the certification process . They are more stringent , more orderly and with more standards coming out .”
One crucial aspect is the authentication process for halal and non-halal pharmaceutical excipients .
Several well-known analytical methods have been validated and developed for the authentication and traceability of halal and non-halal excipients .
“ We have physical chemicals , spectroscopy , and chromatography based-methods and the most common one is DNA-based methods , which is a biological method whereby we detect the lipids or DNA of the products through Polymerase chain reaction ( PCR ),” she explained , adding that selection of methods depended on variables and this depended on the sample itself .
“ The DNA method is known to be complex , and the handling process can severely influence it . We have seen in previous cases where they say that because the DNA testing was not specific enough , there was a mix of false-negative and false-positive results coming out .”
FTIR Spectroscopy and Chemometrics
Mazlina is the principal investigator of ‘ A New Method for Rapid Discrimination of Halal and Non-Halal Pharmaceutical Excipients by FTIR Spectroscopy and
Chemometrics ’.
“ In this research , we tried to do a rapid and simple method based on spectroscopy method , Fourier transforms infrared ( FTIR ).
“ This is not a new method . It has a lot of applications published for classification of various products .
“ In this case , we assume the techniques and improvise to determine and classify the halal and non-halal products .”
“ The idea is that we scan the product , we get the fingerprints of the products like a spectrum which is supposedly ideal for the individual type of materials .
“ However , it ’ s not as simple as that . Because sometimes the DNA of porcine and bovine can overlap about 90 per cent of the time , we have to use a chemometric .
“ This is a statistical procedure , whereby we use statistical chemistry data to identify what makes these two spectrums different .
“ So that ’ s what we do in this research . We ’ re trying to produce something simple and rapid testing ,” she explained .
Mazlina sees this new method as a potential added value to the halal pharmaceuticals verification and authentication procedure .
“ We have proven data that shows this instrument and chemometric will be able to classify halal and non-halal . The fundamentals are 100 per cent covered .”
“ Now , we are moving to expand and develop it into a device that can benefit the actual manufacturing system and see how it works best .” — The Health