Experts say that halal pharmaceuticals could be commercially viable due to the growing number of Muslim consumers across the globe.
The global halal vaccine market could be valued at approximately $1.1 billion by 2030 if the market taps into its full consumer base, according to an expert.
This figure will represent around three per cent of the global preventive vaccine market by 2030, said Dr Tabassum Khan, managing director of AJ Pharma Holding, a Malaysia-based pharmaceutical firm, which is a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian investment group Al Jomaih Group.
“Globally, Muslim consumers spend up to $70 billion on pharmaceutical products, making them the third largest group in the global pharmaceutical market,” Khan said during a session in the World Islamic Economic Forum on Wednesday.
“India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh could be the markets with the most potential as they have some of the largest Muslim populations in the world.”
Halal drugs are those that do not use any animal extracts, which are not Sharia compliant, or extracts from animals that are not slaughtered in accordance to the Sharia law.
“The first dimension of market potential is that there should be a critical mass for it and for the halal vaccines, the critical mass is the global Muslim population.”
However, Khan qualified that the market potential for halal vaccinations is dependent on the willingness of Muslims in populous countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan to accept them. With the current resistance to vaccinations across many countries, he said that the halal vaccination market would be worth just $96 million by 2030.
“The size of the market is directly dependent on the government purchase but there is currently a disconnect between the market potential and target population,” he said.
Khan added that many of these countries, which have a high number of Muslim consumers, are supplied vaccines through other global bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO). This skews the value of the overall market potential, as the buyers are not the end consumers, the expert said.
He also warned that hurdles remain in the widespread use of halal vaccines in the market.
“Firstly, there are no regulations regarding the development of halal vaccinations while the cycle of development is also longer,” said Khan.
Production and distribution costs along with other associated costs, such as an initial investment of $700 million required to launch a new vaccine, also limit the market’s potential, the expert said.