Contrary to popular belief, the Islamic world is not living in the total dark age. Significant scientific advancements led by Muslims is by no means a mere story of the past. Even today, there is much innovation by Muslims within this field, especially spurred by increasing demand. The Thomson Reuters Report 2016/2017 estimates Muslim spending on pharmaceuticals to be $78 billion in 2015, 7 percent of global expenditure. This is a growth of 4.2 percent from the previous year, slightly lower than the global market growth rate of 5.3 percent. Muslim spend on pharmaceuticals is expected to reach $132 billion by 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 9 percent from 2015.
An emerging Muslim consumer segment exists for nutritionally enhanced products, also known as Nutraceuticals. It is riding the wave of higher purchasing power and health awareness, successfully marketing products without porcine or any other haram substance. There are a number of players emerging globally that are focused on Halal nutraceuticals including U.S.-based Noor Vitamins, Madina Vitamins, the Netherlands-based HalalVital, and the UK’s Natures Well.
There are also an increasing number of players in the industry. While there are over 300 ingredients manufacturers globally, in the Halal Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics industries over 322 ingredients manufacturers have been identified, responding to the needs of Muslims across the world. This also means leading pharmaceuticals manufacturers have all sought Halal certification to address Muslim, and predominantly, OIC demand for Halal products, such as Teva Pharmaceuticals and Dow Chemicals. This tale is a global one, with BASF’s Care Chemicals division having announced that two of its facilities in Germany would manufacture 145 Halal-certified ingredients used in personal care products. The chemical giant will continue to expand in order to adapt to rising Muslim demand.
Halal pharmaceuticals also owes its expansion to halal medical tourism, a fast growing sector, estimated at 25 percent growth per annum, and worth over $439 billion worldwide based on the aforementioned Thomson Reuters Report. The top five medical tourist destinations include Thailand, India, Singapore and Malaysia, which have targeted Muslim medical tourists through dedicated Halal healthcare facilities and offerings, such as the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council.
The landscape of the economy itself is transforming, especially after the lifting of sanctions on Iran. This change means that the country of 79 million people is set to become a major global player in this sector. The country’s current pharmaceutical market is estimated to be worth $2.35 billion while in cosmetics Iran is the second largest market in the Middle East, valued at an estimated $4 billion. Furthermore, with fast-developing innovations occurring in this sector in areas such as nutraceuticals, Muslims spending on pharmaceuticals is estimated to reach $132 billion, a promising look for the Islamic economy as a whole.