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Sandeep Singh Dhillon
Malaysia’s healthcare industry to bring in RM13billion this year – MIMS Malaysia
Pharma News

Earlier this month, the Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam announced that Malaysia’s healthcare industry is expected to generate nearly RM13 billion in revenue for the year 2016. He explained that about RM11 billion would be brought in by the medical devices sector alone, as Malaysia is the world’s largest maker of surgical gloves, and is also a manufacturing hub for equipment such as dental chairs and orthopaedic implants.

Meanwhile, profit from the other minor segments that include the health tourism and pharmaceutical sectors is expected to reach RM 1 billion and RM 800 million respectively. This was boosted in part by Malaysia being named as the top tropical paradise to retire in, clinching the top spot in the healthcare category of the International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2015.

The index found that Malaysia offers excellent yet affordable healthcare with some of the best-trained surgeons and specialists in the world and the Malaysian Health Tourism Council (MHTC) is working hard to keep the nation at the top through the promotion of major medical specialties such as cardiology, orthopaedic, oncology, fertility, dentistry and ophthalmology to health tourists around the world.

Focus on medical devices sector

As part of government efforts to expand the already-booming medical devices sector, a Medical Device Competency seminar was organised by the Medical Device Authority and Eastwood Part Integrated Academy earlier this month at Putrajaya, themed “Towards Implementation of Medical Device Competency Regulatory Programme in Malaysia”. At the event, Dr S. Subramaniam stated that by 2020, the healthcare industry as a whole is expected to contribute RM35 billion to the Gross National Income (GNI), which will lead to 180,000 job openings.

The implementation of the Medical Device Competency Regulatory Programme which is in line with the Medical Device Act 2012 (Act 737), aims to ensure the competency of all individuals that directly or indirectly deal with these devices. The minister added that there are 4,000 personnel in Malaysia that are employed in this field ranging from persons installing, operating, commissioning, testing, maintaining and disposing of these medical devices. They should all be well trained to ensure that the requirements of the Act 737 are met.

The pharmaceutical and healthcare industry has experienced an organic and positive growth over the years as the growing population naturally gives rise to an increased disease burden. In view of the expanding list of zero-rated medicine, the public can expect this to ease some of the negative effects that were brought on by the implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) as of last year.

ICT is main area for improvement

The expectation is that the largest economic engines will cause the betterment in healthcare infrastructure, resulting in a better quality of care for citizens. As such, the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) launched in 2010 focuses on 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) to drive growth and to generate revenue, with healthcare being one key area.

One key area that is in need of attention in the healthcare sector is the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) transformation for health within the Ministry of Health. The significant budget constraint is due to the inadequate and inconsistent funding of approximately 5% in the area of ICT.

The Health Ministry states that a key enabler to a nation of healthy individuals, families and communities is an integrated healthcare IT system otherwise known as Connected Health. The proposed eHealth strategy comes in a five main initiatives that includes the National e-Health Strategy, 1 Person 1 Record and more which are set to take place beginning this year till 2020. We can expect these strategies to assist in modernising the Malaysian healthcare industry along with a healthy increase in expected revenue. MIMS

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