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Vaccine maker slams Indonesia halal bill

Nov. 2, 2012 at 3:40 PM
KOTA, Indonesia, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Requiring that medication made in Indonesia comply with Muslim dietary law will kill the pharmaceutical industry, the head of a state-owned company said Friday.

Iskandar, president of Bio Farma, which produces vaccines, said the measure, currently being considered by the legislature, will cost vaccine manufacturers $156 million, the Jakarta Globe reported.

He said the country has to import all meningitis vaccines because they are derived from a pork product.

The proposed law would require food, cosmetics and medicine produced in Indonesia to be certified by the Indonesia Council of Ulemas as halal -- in compliance with Muslim law. Those ban certain products, including pork and blood, and require meat to be slaughtered appropriately.

Iskandar, who was attending the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network in Kuta, Bali, urged pharmaceutical firms to seek exemptions from the law.

"We will die if this regulation comes into force," Iskandar said. "This will destroy the pharmaceutical industry."

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