Bridging the pharma-business gap

Hands on: School of Pharmacy lecturer and Pharmaceutical Technology Department head Dr Chloe Chin Chai Yee guiding guests on how to make lip balms during the launch of the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science (Honours) programme at the new Cosmetic and Perfumery Lab. — LOW BOON TAT/THE STAR

AS most of Malaysia’s pharmaceutical and cosmetic products are imported, it is crucial that we expand the capabilities of our local manufacturers and industries to gain a greater share of this market sector.

Through value chain integration, Taylor’s University Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences executive dean Prof Dr P.T. Thomas said, the country aims to enhance local pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities to pave the way for innovation and sustainability.

“Malaysia’s pharmaceutical sector is growing at an exponential annual rate of 6.34% with market revenue projected to hit US$1.6bil (RM7.62bil) this year.

“Therefore, excellent education, training and the introduction of a competent workforce with the relevant knowledge and skills, will go a long way in expanding the capability of the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry locally and globally.

“By combining academic excellence and world-class facilities with industry immersion, we are shaping future leaders who will drive innovation in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors,” he said during the launch of the varsity’s Pharmaceutical Science undergraduate programme on March 28.

As industries evolve and global markets become more interconnected, the demand for pharmaceutical science professionals who possess versatile skillsets is set to rise, said the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science (Honours) programme director Dr Wong Jia Woei.“Equipping students with a well-rounded understanding of both scientific and business principles is essential.

“This opens doors to a variety of career options and opportunities beyond traditional laboratory or research roles, such as sales and marketing, business development, product portfolio management, as well as entrepreneurship, which is what the curriculum of the new programme seeks to do,” she said, adding that a new Cosmetic and Perfumery Lab has been built on campus for students to hone their skills.

Offered by the varsity’s School of Pharmacy, the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science (Honours) programme is the first of its kind in the country to offer a work-based learning (WBL) mode and complementary studies in Drug Discovery and Development and Cosmetic Science.

Wong said students can either choose the conventional three-year programme or the WBL mode — the latter allows students to put their knowledge into practice in real-world work settings during their final year.

“Students who go through the conventional route will also gain benefits from the course’s Pharmaceutical Industry Student Adoption (PISA) programme and secure internships with over 10 top-tier firms, including global giants like Abbott, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer,” she said.

The programme’s Cosmetic Science study option, which accepts its first intake of students this month, will see students develop a deep understanding of the science and technology behind cosmetics, gaining insight into global cosmetic markets and regulations, and learning how to ensure sustainable, eco-friendly, ethical and halal practices are upheld in the industry, she added.

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