By 2025, total healthcare expenditure in Malaysia could exceed USD20 billion. In the next five years (2015 to 2020), it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11%. While Government spending will focus on development of public healthcare infrastructure and chronic and infectious diseases control and treatment, private healthcare spending will drive much of this growth. Private healthcare (out of pocket, private health insurance) will grow from 46% of total healthcare expenditure to close to 50% by 2020.
Healthcare services and medical devices provide the largest near term opportunities in Malaysia, while new sectors of growth are in home healthcare, aged care and medical technology.
“Malaysia provides affordable, high quality healthcare. Enhancement of our capabilities in medical devices manufacturing with stronger emphasis on use of Made in Malaysia medical products could help to control this unavoidable increase in healthcare costs. With our growing middle aged and elderly population, as well as increased awareness on the importance of healthcare management, we see a trend also in earlier diagnosis, leading to the ability to manage diseases better,” says Rhenu Bhuller, Senior Vice President, Healthcare, Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific.
Other areas of growth for Malaysia are medical tourism as well as in primary healthcare services.
AEC provides the opportunity to reduce medical devices import proportion
The medical device market in ASEAN is heavily reliant on imports, especially for high end and sophisticated medical equipment. In the major economies of ASEAN, the value of medical device sales to healthcare facilities was worth USD4 billion in 2013, and is projected to more than double by 2019. With the AEC and Government’s advocating local manufacturing, Frost & Sullivan forecasts a 5% drop in the proportion of domestic markets met by imports, although the value of the market will grow strongly to continue to provide significant spend on imports.
With medical devices manufacturing being emphasized as one of the key areas of focus in Malaysia, the country is moving up the value chain in the production of medical devices. High-value devices being manufactured in Malaysia include orthopaedic products, dialysers, surgical instruments, medical electrodes, diagnostic radiographic equipment, and ophthalmic lenses.
Medical tourism continues to grow in Malaysia
Compared to other countries in ASEAN, Malaysia has a higher-than-average availability of medical personnel and high quality facilities providing treatments across different ranges of the cost spectrum, making it an attractive destination for medical tourists. While Thailand and Singapore will continue to be larger in terms of dollar size, they are forecasted to see slower growth over the next five years, compared to Malaysia’s forecasted CAGR of 18.5% between 2014 and 2020.
Singapore will come under pressure due to the costs of healthcare there, while Thailand has seen an impact of the political unrest. Malaysia has the opportunity to brand and position itself as a provider of affordable, quality healthcare.
Another factor that is changing the medical tourism landscape is the emergence of new medical tourism hubs like Indonesia and the Philippines.
Demand and growth potential for aged care in Malaysia is increasing
It is estimated that Malaysia has successfully attracted 19,488 retirees from 120 countries to settle in the country since 2002.
10% of the total population will be over the age of 60 in 2020, making Malaysia an aging nation. It is estimated that the market worth of the Aged Care industry in Malaysia by 2020 will be USD1.4 billion.
Dependency on aged care services is set to increase among the elderly due to issues such as poor health or lack of family support.
Technology and home healthcare as new areas of growth
Home monitoring technologies and wearable devices are well positioned to drive changes in healthcare behavior to build a healthier nation, as well as potentially manage long term increase in healthcare costs. Some of the initiatives that could have an impact are:
• Telehealth, particularly home monitoring devices or home consultations for less served geographies.
• Practitioners and insurers promoting chronic disease management platforms that integrate various mobile devices, patient monitoring technologies and apps.
• Consumers investing in home monitoring devices, apps and emergency response systems.
However, in Malaysia, this is still mainly an informal, consumer driven market.
Frost & Sullivan’s 2015 Predictions for the Healthcare Industry in ASEAN:
• Regulatory Harmonization Leading to an increase in manufacturing investments and flow of medical good within ASEAN.
• Stronger Regulatory Crackdown Improve compliance to ethical promotion practices and include more of education/CSR.
• Microsegmentation Strategies Private healthcare service providers offer tiered services under same brand to appeal to growing urban and middle class populations with different affordability levels.
• Pharmacy Undergoes Transformation The community pharmacy as a channel for diagnostics, compliance and treatment.
• Reduction in Percentage of Imports Share of healthcare imports from the West to drop by approximately 5%.
• 2015 Asian companies leverage M&As and strategic alliances as a key growth strategy.
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