KUALA LUMPUR: The selection of companies to package the Covid-19 vaccine, once it is found, will not be limited to Pharmaniaga and Duopharma, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the selection process must be done based on the company’s capacity to manufacture local pharmaceutical products that have fulfilled good manufacturing practices (GMP) requirements set by the Standard Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme.
“The selection of the manufacturer that meet the standards is crucial in ensuring the field-and-finish aspect could be executed safely.
“The appointment of the companies must fulfil conditions set by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) under the Health Ministry, as well as procedures by the government,” he said in reply to a supplementary question by Datuk Mohd Nizar Zakaria (BN-Parit).
Khairy said the public-private partnership (PPP) approach for the field and finish stage had been discussed in the National Science Council meeting on July 14.
He said the selection of companies for the purpose would not be limited to these two companies, which were among the prospects with such capacity.
It was reported that Pharmaniaga and Duopharma have potential to be selected to package the vaccine for use in Malaysia.
Khairy said several companies have withdrawn from participating in the clinical trial in Malaysia due to the relatively small number of Covid-19 patients in the country as such a process normally required a large number of patients.
This, he said, explained why companies targeted countries like the United Arab Emirates and Brazil with a high number of Covid-19 cases.
“However, we have the capacity to run our own clinical trials through Clinical Research Malaysia that pioneered the clinical research ecosystem development in Malaysia. We also have the facilities to conduct phase one of clinical researches at the Sarawak General Hospital.”
Issues related to Covid-19 dominated today’s question-and-answer session, when several members of parliament (MPs) raised concerns over the government’s plans to address both the health and economic aspects.