Malaysia’s New Medical Advertising Regulations

Malaysia’s healthcare sector, including pharmaceuticals and medical devices, is one of the country’s largest industries, valued at around $1 billion. Currently, Malaysia has over 250 private medical facilities, and the country’s medical market is growing at an annual rate of 6-7 percent. In order to keep up with the expansion of Malaysia’s medical industry and to ensure the safety and quality of medical services and products, the Malaysian government, along with other medical organizations, is making greater efforts to implement new medical regulations.

In May 2005, the Malaysian Medical Association implemented a new guideline which now permits doctors and hospitals to advertise their medical services. While the guideline has a number of restrictions, doctors and hospitals will be able to advertise their medical specialties and their new or technologically-advanced medical equipment. The advertisements will be limited in their claims, prohibiting medical providers from exaggerating their abilities, asserting their achievements, or overselling a product. Nevertheless, some hospitals have already taken advantage of this new advertising privilege through new product launches.

In 2006, Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) also intends to pass new regulations on medical product advertising, according to a May 2005 announcement. Under the new regulation, any pharmaceutical or medical device claiming to prevent or treat an illness or condition will be required to obtain approval from the MOH. This approval will also be necessary in order to sell the product commercially in Malaysia. The MOH hopes this proposed regulation will allow for product testing to ensure the safety and effectiveness of products in Malaysia, prior to advertising the products.