Daily Express
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA
Established since 1963
M'sia expects OECD member status next year

Published on: Sunday, April 24, 2011

KOLOMBONG: Malaysia has applied to become a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

This was disclosed by the Health Ministry's Pharmaceutical Services Division Senior Director, Dato' Eisah A. Rahman, Saturday.

Speaking after officially opening the new warehouse-cum-office of Medical Supplies (Sabah) Sdn Bhd at the Makat Industrial Estate, here, she said:

"Hopefully, it will become a reality next year. To attract potential investors to come and invest here in the pharmaceutical industry, we are working very hard to adopt best practices such as Good Laboratory Practice (GLP).

"We have set all the regulatory standards (GMP, GLP and Good Clinical Practice (GCP), for example). So if an investor wants to look for facilities for pre-clinical testing, it is readily available here in Malaysia."

The OECD is an international economic organisation of 34 nations founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It is a forum of nations committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a setting to compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordinate domestic and international policies.

Eisah, who represented Deputy Health Minister, Datuk Rosnah Hj Abdul Rashid Shirlin, also said Malaysia is on track for full liberalisation of trade in the pharmacy sector by 2015.

"We are ready for liberalisation as we have been giving emphasis to high standards and good practices. Internationally, we have actually put ourselves on a very high standing.

"Our local pharmaceutical manufacturers are in compliance with international regulatory standard in terms of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)," she told a press conference.

The Ministry has also imposed the Good Distribution Practice (GDP) on wholesalers and warehouse operators.

"This is in line with the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) requirements." Eisah said Malaysia's liberalisation of the pharmacy sector had taken place in stages since 1985.

"Implementation is of course gradual, step by step, phase by phase.

As far as Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is concerned, we became a member of the Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PICS) in January 2002."

Asked how membership in PICS has benefited the local pharmaceutical industry, the Senior Director said there is mutual co-operation in terms of GMP with other PICS member countries.

"Today we have over 30 member countries and Malaysia became the 26th just behind Singapore. But we still hold the record because we became a member in the shortest time." Malaysia is exporting quality pharmaceutical products to over 30 countries.

"Of course, some countries such as Australia have imposed inspections on our GMP facilities here.

Pharmaceutical companies are ready for such inspections.

"If you are brave enough to export your products to potential markets, you must be ready to accept them for inspection of your premises," Eisah said matter-of-factly.

"After all, our standards are high and our regulatory system is very much recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO)."

She said PICS view Malaysia as an emerging country able to comply with international regulatory standards. "This is very encouraging and why our local pharmaceutical manufacturers are able to export their products to over 30 countries."