Preliminary Evaluation of Halal Status in Respiratory, Immunological Products and Vaccines in Malaysia

Suraiya Abdul Rahman, Wan Rosalina Wan Rosli, Ahmad Rashidi Mohamed Tahir, Siti Nor Amirah Mohd Isa, Mohamed Awang, Amrahi Buang, Mohd Halim Khalid, Mohd Adlan Adnan, Syazfeeza Salleh, Zhari Ismail
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Cyberjaya, Cyberjaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Faculty of Pharmacy, University College MAIWP International, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysian Pharmacists Society, Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia

Pharmacy Branch, Health Services Division, Malaysian Armed Forces HQ, Ministry of Defense, Malaysia

Department of Pharmacy, Tuanku Mizan Armed Forces Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

*Corresponding author email:


Introduction: Muslim consumers and patients are showing a growing interest on the halal (permissible) status of pharmaceuticals. This descriptive study was done to explore the halal status of selected respiratory and immunological products, and vaccines available in 2 government hospitals in Malaysia

Methodologies: The halal status of products was determined based on the sources of their active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and excipients. Information regarding sources of active ingredients and excipients was obtained from product leaflets, feedback from manufacturers and standard references such as US Pharmacopeia, British Pharmacopeia and Merck Index. These products were categorized as halal, mushbooh (dubious) or haram (prohibited) based on their contents.

Results: There were 123 medications included in this study (91 were respiratory products while 32 were immunological products and vaccines). Out of 91 respiratory products, 56% were halal, whereas 44% were mushbooh. Out of the 32 immunological products and vaccines, 96.9% were mushbooh and one product was haram. No halal product was found under immunological products and vaccines in this study. There was 49 API in respiratory products and 79.6% were considered halal and 20.4% were mushbooh. From 124 excipients used, 83.1% were halal and 16.9% were mushbooh. Under the immunological products and vaccines, from 32 products analysed, 96.9% were mushbooh and 3.1% were haram. As of the 42 APIs under this product category, 100% were mushbooh. From the 52 excipients, 57.7% were halal, 40.4% mushbooh and 1.9% haram. Lactose, magnesium stearate, ethanol, polysorbate 80 and amino acids are the most common mushbooh ingredients. Haram ingredients were of porcine origin.

Conclusion: This study concluded that although most excipients are halal, but the status of medicines becomes mushbooh due to the presence of certain excipients which may actually be replaced with halal alternatives.

Keywords: Halal pharmaceuticals, active pharmaceutical ingredients, excipients