With some of the highest levels of national healthcare spending in Asia (ranking third after Vietnam and South Korea), Malaysia is taking hold of its strategic strengths in the pharmaceuticals and medtech sectors, among others, to expand the country’s economic growth. The healthcare industry has shown high profitability margins over other Malaysian industries since 2000, according to the World Health Organization. With plans to expand these sectors into world-class profit hubs, the current small global player sees a tremendous opportunity for pharmaceuticals and medical devices. To meet its growth goals, Malaysia seeks international sponsors and manufacturers to boost these industries.
The medical device industry in Malaysia is incipient and is planned to have a baseline growth rate of only 8 percent, but it holds much opportunity. With a history of contract manufacturing, the government plans to better enforce international certification, expand research initiatives and provide soft loans and other incentives to entice international device manufacturers to Malaysia. Developing IVD manufacturing in particular will draw on Malaysia’s core manufacturing capabilities and is an area for potential growth.
The Malaysian government is targeting the pharmaceutical industry for a 22 percent growth rate driven by higher exports of generic drugs and increased clinical research. Malaysia is encouraging international manufacturing and investment to kick-start this growth. By 2020, Malaysia’s Minister of Health foresees 1,000 new clinical trials executed per year, 10 times more than the current number. To grow the clinical research environment in Malaysia, policy changes are being implemented to ensure Malaysia will be the country of choice for Phase II-Phase IV trials. Actions being taken include tapping a larger pool of patients and growing the number of CROs.