Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman has urged the pharmaceutical industry to tap into the huge biodiversity resources in the State through research and development. By doing so, he said evidence-based herbal medicines could be developed and produced in line with the agricultural thrust under the Halatuju, whereby the herbal industry has been identified as an area with promise for growth. “The herbal industry, though still largely untapped here, is a multi-billion ringgit industry, and I believe with concerted efforts on research and development and the right collaboration, Sabah has the potential to be a key player in herbal medicines,” he said at the annual dinner and installation night of the Sabah Pharmaceutical Society at Sutera Pacific Hotel here last night. “Opportunities are also abound under the Sabah Development Corridor whereby harnessing our biodiversity resources for value adding as one of its objectives. As such, I hope pharmacists will take up, the challenge to pursue this industry, and he realized its potentials and socio-economic benefits for Sabah in particular, and Malaysia in generals added the Chief Minister. Having said that, Musa said it is also timely to conduct more surveys into the manpower development of the pharmacist population in anticipation of new challenges in the face of globalization and market liberalization. “As a member of the healthcare team, it is crucial that all pharmacists keep abreast of advancement in medicines and as well as challenges facing the industry. Only then, the general public in Sabah can continue to enjoy a high level of service from the. industry. This is in line with the Government’s emphasis on enhancing our human capital to maintain our competitive edge in a globalised world. “With attention paid to the quality of service, the continuing Professional Development Programme and an effective medicines management policy, it is without doubt that pharmacists can then be better equipped in carrying out their roles and responsibilities in the rapidly changing healthcare scene,” said Musa. The Chief Minister pointed out an area of concern is the persistent drug menace that is still affecting the welfare of the people and security of the State. Pharmacists, who are well- versed with the effects of habit- forming drugs, can also play an effective role in providing useful information in preventing the abuse of drugs, he said. “I notice that the Society had played quite an active role in the State’s anti- drug programme in the past and I would like to urge all members to continue to complement the Government’s efforts in combating the drug menace. Let us all combine our efforts to increase vigilance and actively promote a drug-free community,” he added. Mr Yee That Hian was the newly installed President of the Sabah Pharmaceutical Society. He replaced Dr Allan Matthews.