Mission Statement

Medical Equipment Trade Mission to the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia
August 4-12, 2008

Mission Description

The United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, U.S. Commercial Service is organizing a Medical Equipment Trade Mission to the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia from August 4 to 12, 2008.  The mission provides an opportunity for U.S. firms to tap into lucrative, fast growing markets for U.S. medical equipment.  Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand offer good opportunities for U.S. health care technologies suppliers.  The medical equipment sector in these countries is growing at an average 13 percent rate and the United States remains a major source of medical equipment, with an average 28 percent market share.

At each stop, trade mission participants will benefit from country briefings; individual business meetings with prospective agents, distributors, partners, and end-users; site visits; and networking functions with private companies and local government officials.

Commercial Setting

In the Philippines, the medical equipment sector presents good opportunities for U.S. firms, as its medical industry is almost totally dependent on imports.  Medical tourism to the Philippines continues to grow, offering many opportunities for U.S. sellers of medical equipment and instruments.  Several hospitals are improving facilities and adapting new technologies to address demand from foreigners and returning residents who avail themselves of health care services in the Philippines.  The United States claims an estimated 25 percent of the Philippines’ $177 million import market for medical equipment, making it second only to China as the top supplier in this sector.

Additional requirements for medical services, new technology, and equipment replacement spur market growth.  The local medical market is partial to American products, as U.S.-trained Filipino doctors prefer the high technology of American medical equipment and instruments, which justifies their higher costs.  American brands face Singaporean, German, Japanese, and lately, Chinese competition.  Best prospects include electromedical equipment, ultrasonic scanning machines, X-ray and radiation equipment, dialysis instruments and apparatus, and medical and surgical instruments.

The market for medical devices in Thailand grew by about 24 percent in 2006 and an estimated 15 percent in 2007.  About 75 percent of medical devices in Thailand are imported, and the U.S. share is about 29 percent.  Most of the Thai medical equipment imports are sophisticated, with cutting-edge technology.  Major international manufacturers are well represented in the Thai market.  Market growth in the next few years (2008 to 2010) will continue to derive mainly from the need to upgrade health care facilities and replace medical devices and accessories.  Replacement of old devices and accessories with high-end, quality medical equipment has become part of the promotional campaign of most private hospitals.  Hospitals are promoting specializations in order to attract more patients.  Hospitals with special international wards employ foreign language-speaking practitioners to draw international clients and increase their number of patients. 

Hospital equipment is imported and distributed by independent agents and/or distributors who also handle marketing, customs clearance, and product registration/import authorization from the Thai Food and Drug Administration.  Best prospects include heart valves and artificial blood vessels, disposable diagnostic test kits, quick diagnostic testing devices, respiratory devices and oxygen therapy, rehabilitation equipment and accessories, orthopedic and implant devices and accessories, minimum invasive surgical devices, and neurosurgical and other surgical devices and accessories. 

The Malaysian medical devices market is estimated at $1.4 billion and is projected to grow at a rate of 10 percent in 2008.  Ninety percent of medical devices are imported, and the U.S. import market share is 22 percent.  An increasing patient population and focus on health care cost containment and preventative therapies influence demand for a broad range of medical and surgical devices for cardiovascular, orthopedic, respiratory, ophthalmic, neurological, urinary, disposable, and infection control applications, among others.  The increasing senior population and modern lifestyle diseases are expected to boost demand for more affordable quality drugs and equipment.  To meet patient demand, plans for constructing new and replacement hospitals, such as cardiac centers in Ipoh, Alor Star and Kota Kinabalu, are underway. 

Promotion of health tourism is robust and includes developing a comprehensive package of health services in areas where Malaysia offers a comparative advantage, such as spas and cosmetic services.  To further position Malaysia as a global health care services hub, the country’s Ministry of Tourism has unveiled a health tourism portal, and the government’s ninth Malaysia Plan, for 2006-2010, includes the following proposed health care programs:  1) Six regional chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment centers to be established nationwide; 2) a national referral center and National Cancer Institute with state-of-the-art facilities for cancer prevention, treatment, research and training; 3) upgrade of Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Sabah); and 4) construction of a $26 million national specialist hospital for women and children, with 850 beds and 14 operating theaters.  Best prospects include electromedical equipment, orthopedic appliances; and diagnostic and therapeutic radiation devices.

Mission Goals

The medical equipment trade mission will showcase U.S. medical equipment and technology to improve health care delivery and support the health care programs in each country.  The mission offers an excellent opportunity for U.S. companies to promote products in these markets.  The objective of the mission is to facilitate market entry and/or increase sales for U.S. suppliers of medical devices, as well as provide first-hand market information and access to potential business partners.

Mission Scenario

The mission will be hosted by the Commercial Service offices in Manila, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur.  In each city, mission members will benefit from country briefings; customized, pre-arranged appointments with prospective partners, distributors, and end-users; meetings with appropriate host government agencies; and networking events with local officials and company representatives.  The focus of the trade mission will be to match participating U.S. companies with pre-screened agents, distributors, buyers, and representatives in these markets, which all have a strong affinity for, and trading relationship with, the United States.


August 3         Arrive Manila, Philippines

August 4         Breakfast/country briefing by CS Manila and Philippine government officials
                        One-on-one business appointments

August 5         One-on-one business appointments

August 6         Travel to Bangkok, Thailand

August 7         Breakfast/country briefing by CS Bangkok and Thai government officials
                        One-on-one business appointments

August 8         One-on-one business appointments

August 9/10    Travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

August 11       Breakfast/country briefing by CS Kuala Lumpur and Malaysian government officials
                        One-on-one business appointments

August 12       One-on-one business appointments

August 13       End of Mission

Criteria for Participation

The mission will be recruited by the International Trade Administration’s Global Health Care Technologies Team, and will be promoted through the following venues:  Export Assistance Centers and the Team; CS Trade Events List on www.export.gov; relevant trade and industry publications and web sites; other multiplier groups’ web sites; the Federal Register; relevant trade associations; announcements to past Commerce trade mission participants and to various in-house and purchased industry lists; and the Commerce Department trade missions calendar:  www.ita.doc.gov/doctm/tmcal.html.

Recruitment will begin immediately and will close July 11, 2008.  Recruitment will be conducted on a first come-first served basis.  Applications received after the closing date will be considered only if space and scheduling constraints permit.

Domestic Contact:

Jennifer Loffredo, Global Health Care Technologies Team Leader
E-mail:  Jennifer.Loffredo@mail.doc.gov

Asia Contacts:

Ms. Dey Robles
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service
The American Business Center
25/F Ayala Life-FGU Center
6811 Ayala Ave., Makati City
Tel:  (632) 888-6077
Fax:  (632) 888-6606             
E-mail:  Dey.Robles@mail.doc.gov

Ms. Natila Ahmad
Commercial Specialist
American Embassy, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 603-2168-510
Fax: 603-2142-1866
E-mail: Natila.Ahmad@mail.doc.gov
http://www.buyusa.gov/asianow/southeastasia_ home.html

Mr. Nalin Phupoksakul
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service
American Embassy
3rd Floor, GPF Witthayu Bldg. A, Room 302
93/1 Wireless Road
Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
Phone: 662-205-5090, 662-205-5275
Fax: 662-255-2915, 662-205-5914
E-mail: nphupoks@mail.doc.gov