Open a Business for Selling Pharmaceutical Goods in Malaysia

Updated on Wednesday 26th June 2019

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Malaysia is a country that focuses on a healthcare model that is accessible to all of its residents and the demand for quality healthcare is on the rise. The pharmaceutical industry is well-developed and there are a number of types of drugs that are being manufactured in the country both by large corporations and by smaller ones, targeting mainly health supplements.
In order to open a business for selling pharmaceutical goods in Malaysia, investors will need to pay attention to the market particularities as well as the requirements for these types of companies, out of which the most important being the ones related to licensing and regulatory control in this industry.
Our team of lawyers in Malaysia has experience in opening companies in various business fields and can help investors start a business for selling pharmaceutical goods in the country.
The general steps for company formation will also apply for a business that is involved in the import, sale, and wholesale of pharmaceutical products. We briefly describe these steps below:
  1. Choose the company type: this can be a corporation or a partnership, suited to the size of the future business.
  2. Prepare for registration: investors draw up the Articles of Association for the corporation and prepare to open a bank account where the minimum capital is deposited.
  3. Business registration: this step takes place with the Companies Commission of Malaysia once the application form is filed and the documentation is complete.
  4. Application for licenses: investors then apply for the relevant permits, such as for the sale of pharmaceutical products.
  5. Others: registering for tax purposes and for hiring foreign workers, if needed, are examples of additional steps.

The pharmaceutical industry in Malaysia

There are four main categories of pharmaceutical products manufactured in Malaysia, as listed below:
  • Prescription drugs: those types of medicines that are issued only with a prescription from a physician.
  • Over-the-counter medication: drugs that are freely purchased by patients in designated selling points.
  • Health supplements: although not drugs in the traditional sense, these are formulations that contain vitamins and minerals.
  • Traditional medicine: a field targeted by some companies, focuses on traditional, homeopathic medicines or plant-based ones.
Apart from opportunities in the development of generic drugs and herbal medicine, investors in Malaysia can also find that there are investment opportunities in areas such as the manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients or in the research and development sector, for example for new drug discoveries or new drug delivery systems. One of our attorneys in Malaysia can give investors more information about R&D incentives that may be available in this business field.

Conditions for businesses that sell pharmaceutical goods in Malaysia 

Investors who open a business for selling pharmaceutical goods in Malaysia can be involved in the sale of one or more of the four categories of goods mentioned in this article. However, some companies will only prefer to focus on one category. The National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency is the one in charge of the regulatory control in this business field. Another agency that is important for investors who wish to sell pharmaceutical goods is the Drug Control Authority, as it not only ensures the registration of these types of products but also issues licenses for premises for importers and wholesalers. 
Investors can reach out to the experts at our law firm in Malaysia for information about specialized parks in the country. These are locations where activities such as healthcare and biotechnology are subject to attractive conditions, such as special utilities or a variety of office spaces for rent.
The pharmaceutical industry in Malaysia is a developed one, as shown by the statistical data presented below:
  • more than 250 registered manufacturing companies that function under the required licenses.
  • more than 180 traditional medicine companies.
  • the industry is one of the target areas for government support, with RM 1.87 billion of the total healthcare budget being used for healthcare development and the provision of medical equipment and the increase of supply of medicines, among others (the data was for the year 2012). 
Investors who wish to know more about how to open a business for selling pharmaceutical goods in Malaysia can reach out to our experts for more detailed information about the licensing requirements and the general company formation process.
Contact our law firm in Malaysia for complete assistance when opening a company in the pharmaceutical sector.