Improving Healthcare in the Philippines

Located in the western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is a collection of over 7,000 islands that collectively hold the country’s 100 million citizens. As a developing country, the Philippines has historically had low standards of healthcare, but rising incomes and a greater focus on upgrading healthcare infrastructure are improving the outlook for Filipinos and providing excellent opportunities for medical device companies.

Fundamental changes to Filipino healthcare laws have improved basic access to healthcare and increased overall demand for medical devices and drugs. The most important revision to healthcare laws occurred in 2013, when the government passed the National Health Insurance Act. Successful implementation of the Health Insurance Act has increased the share of Filipinos with insurance from only 51% in 2012 to around 90% in 2015. The government has set a goal of having 95% of the population covered by the end of 2016.

The government has also taken steps towards upgrading the Philippines’ overloaded hospital system, where there are only 10 beds per 10,000 people. Japan, by comparison, has over 130 beds per 10,000 people. To renovate existing hospitals and spur new construction, the government has recently instituted the Health Facilities Enhancement Program. This program seeks to leverage public-private partnerships and improve foreign direct investment in an effort to improve Filipinos’ access to medical care. These government-led measures, along with a predicted 6% growth in real GDP in 2016, indicate that the demand for advanced healthcare facilities, insurance, and medical devices and pharmaceuticals has never been greater.