Leeds firm at the forefront of booming halal pharmaceutical industry

A large percentage of mass-produced medication in the UK contains alcohol and gelatine - both forbidden under Islamic law

The worldwide halal pharmaceutical market is set to hit £141 billion by 2025

Attributable mainly due to soaring demand and non-Muslim consumption of such products, the halal market in the UK is now estimated at just over £3.5 billion.

A large portion of this figure, however, can be traced to the rapidly growing halal pharmaceutical industry, with the worldwide market set to reach over £141 billion by 2025.

In simple terms, the word ‘halal’ refers to products deemed suitable for consumption under Islamic law. Often referring to meat, halal products can be deemed permissible if the animal is slaughtered in a specific way, abiding with Islamic regulation.

“If halal food products are freely available in the United Kingdom, medicines should be too”

One of the major players in this booming global market is Holbeck based firm Rosemont Pharmaceuticals. The number one supplier of oral liquid formulations in the country, the West Yorkshire firm also distribute the largest quantity of halal certified medication in the UK.

From their Holbeck distribution centre, Rosemont distribute the largest quantity of halal pharmaceuticals in the United Kingdom

Iain Fawcett, Operations Manager and Senior Researcher with the company for over 11 years explains: “What the general British public don’t actually realise is that even the most common medicines, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, contain alcohol and a large percentage of over the counter medicines contain some form of gelatine – both of which are forbidden in the Muslim community.

An estimated 2.5 million Muslims now call United Kingdom, making up just under 5% of the population.

Appropriately, since the turn of the 21st century, the halal food market has gained significant attention, owed much to the demand of products being made freely available up and down the country.   

“It is very easy for doctors to prescribe medication to Muslims that just isn’t suitable”

Yet, despite such tremendous global economic growth expected in the next five years, the halal pharmaceutical industry may be one which the average Brit would perhaps not even know existed.

It is Rosemont’s core objective to ensure that those in need have suitable alternatives to the far more common haram medicines. ‘Haram’, a term frowned upon by the Muslim community, refers directly to products derived from animals not slaughtered in a way tolerated by Islamic law.

Fawcett says: “It is very easy for doctors to prescribe medication to Muslims that just isn’t suitable.

“Although Mulism patients must abide by doctors’ orders to get better, it’s just not possible for them to do so whilst adhering to their religious laws and beliefs.

“In providing halal certified alternative medicines on a large scale, we can help consumers that identify as Muslim to gain access to alternatives to haram medicines.

“If halal food products are freely available in the United Kingdom, medicines should be too.”

Several British retailers and food outlets have made substantial changes to their operations in recent years to cater for the ever-growing Muslim population, with many Subway chains now exclusively using halal meat in all their sandwiches.

Fawcett believes it will be the pharmaceutical industry that tap into the £3.5 billion market in the UK next.

“With the worldwide halal pharmaceuticals market set to experience so much growth in the next five years, I’d imagine you’ll start to see more UK based firms tap into the market – it’s one with huge economic potential.”

This Subway franchise on Boar Lane in Leeds City Centre was one of the first in the country to exclusively offer halal certified meat

With a turnover of £46.5 million in 2017, Rosemont currently distribute around four million bottles of liquid medicine to various independent pharmacies in the UK every year.

“Whether they are halal certified or not, they will always be of the same highest quality”

“We listen to our consumers and deliver for them through a process of continuous product research and development.

“We develop medicines of excellent quality for both the general public and Islam community, all to the same GMP standards.

“Whether they are halal certified or not, they will always be of the same highest quality.”  

As the industry is expected to experience paramount growth by 2025, it may become increasingly more common for firms to develop new halal medication and pharmaceutical goods.

With the 21st century moving further along, halal based products are becoming more accepted universally, with non-Muslims consuming halal food products on a daily basis. It may not be long, therefore, until we’re all taking halal certified ibuprofen to get rid of that aggravating headache.

About the Author

Aidan Kerr
Aidan Kerr is a third year journalism student at Leeds Beckett University.

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