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Malaysian Health Data Warehouse Completes Phase 2 Of Patient Data Collection

MEDICAL - Malaysia
March 2019

A digital initiative by the Malaysian Ministry of Health, Malaysian Health Data Warehouse (MyHDW) system has completed its second phase of gathering information on outpatients from public and private facilities. The system collects data on people’s visits to any health care facility, inpatient visits, outpatient visits, visits to daycare unit services, as well as visits to clinical support groups like physiotherapy, speech, or audio. About 60 million visits have been recorded from 2.5 million inpatients. The anonymised data was collected from all government hospitals, military hospitals, and daycare unit services since 2017.

MyHDW was launched In October 2017 as a central system to house citizens’ health data. MyHDW was created with local technology developed by MIMOS, the national applied R&D agency for ICT in Malaysia. The data is structured for query and analysis purposes. MyHDW has the capability to generate reports, analyze and disseminate information through a dashboard, featuring disease-based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

The Health Ministry aspires to make evidence-based decision making in identifying disease trends or deciding on the need for extra health facilities in certain areas by collecting and analyzing data via MyHDW. MyHDW is now in the process of creating a “virtual environment” for researchers to access the data, as part of its third phase. 

(Source: The Malay Mail)

New Healthcare Player In Malaysia Focusing On Lower Income Groups

MEDICAL - Malaysia
February 2019

Sinmah Capital Bhd (Sinmah) is venturing into the heathcare segment, earmarking MYR 100 million (USD 25 million), to be raised through internal funds and bank loans, for building a hospital in Nilai. Sinmah is an investment holding company, which divested its poultry business in 2017, to focus on its property development business and enter into healthcare. It teamed up with Amegajaya Medical Planning Group (AMP) to establish Sinmah Amegajaya Healthcare Sdn Bhd (SAH), 70% of which is owned by Sinmah and the remaining 30% by AMP. 

Sinmah is seeking to acquire a property in Nilai for MYR 27 million and redevelop it into a 200-bed full service integrated public-private university hospital (IPPUH). Universiti Teknologi MARA as the clinical partner operating the IPPUH. The IPPUH will mark many firsts, including offering multi-tier services that meet the needs of different market segments and the setting-up of the country’s first integrated Centre of Excellence for Autism & Geriatric Care. The construction is targeted to be completed within 28 months, starting from Mach 2019.

Sinmah is looking to do a MYR 500 million (USD 122 million) Sukuk (Islamic bonds) issuance in a couple of tranches.  In the near term, the company has plans for another IPPUH and nursing college in Cheng, Malacca.Through SAH, Sinmah aims to build around 20 to 25 IPPUHs over the next 10 years in a number of states across Malaysia including Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, Selangor, Perak and Kedah, to serve the bottom 40 (B40) and middle 40 (M40) income groups by providing affordable healthcare services. Improving healthcare services for the B40 is a focus area for the present government. The Malaysian government's National B40 Protection Scheme commenced on 1 Janaury, 2019, and will cover 36 critical illnesses including AIDS, Alzheimer's, blindness, cancer and heart attack. The scheme with an initial size of MYR 2 billion (USD 490 million) is expected to benefit around 4.1 million B40 households.

(Source: The Edge; New Straits Times; Star Online)

Healthy Growth Projected For Medical Device Export In 2019

MEDICAL - Malaysia
January 2019

Exports of medical devices from Malaysia is expected to cross MYR 23 billion (USD 5.6 billion) in 2019, with the Association of Malaysian Medical Industries (AMMI) projecting exports to achieve 8% year-on-year growth. In 2017 AMMI members recorded a combined export sales of MYR 11.4 billion (USD 2.8 billion) compared to MYR 9.7 billion (USD 2.4 billion) in 2016. This brings the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the export sales to a healthy 16.3% between 2013 and 2017, beating most global indices in the sector. A strong national medical devices manufacturers association, AMMI members contributed to 58% of the country’s total exports of all Made in Malaysia medical devices including medical glove.

In a recent survey involving 46 AMMI members, 74% of them said they are planning to expand their operation in terms of buildings, machinery, equipment, facilities and product lines. The projected value of the probable future expansion plans when combined was about MYR 1.5 billion (USD 360 million). As of December 2017, the total value of cumulative investments reported by the members responded to the survey mounted to MYR 7 billion (USD 1.7 billion), up from MYR 3.4 billion (USD 830 million) in 2013. Collective yearly investments also soared to MYR 967.9 million (USD 235.5 million) in 2017 from MYR 215.2 million (USD 52.36 million) in 2013. The findings of the survey are recorded in AMMI’s Medical Device Industry Status and Outlook Report 2018/2019.

According to the survey the on-going trade war between the United States and China is not expected to worsen the market for Malaysian exports of medical devices. On the contrary, the situation is expected to benefit local manufacturers. Around 50% of AMMI members were hopeful of achieving double-digit growth in 2019. Malaysia is predicted to keep growing as a hub for medical device manufacturing in the region with the presence of over 200 medical device manufacturing companies in the country flourishing within a supportive ecosystem in the industry.

(Sources: The Star; Malaysian Investment Development Authority)

Malaysia Allocates USD 2.6 Billion To Upgrade Health Services At Clinics And Hospitals

MEDICAL - Malaysia
November 2018

In its 2019 budget the Malaysian government allocated MYR 10.8 billion (USD 2.6 billion) to upgrade and improve health services at clinics and hospitals. This is out a total of MYR 29 billion (USD 6.9 billion) for the Ministry of Health, an increase of 7.8% as compared to the previous year. 

The government will introduce a new B40 National Health Protection Fund from Jan 1, 2019, on a partnership basis with private insurance companies. In partnership with the private insurance industry, the Government will pilot a national B40 Health Protection Fund to provide free protection against top 4 critical illness for up to MYR 8,000 (USD 1,900) and up to 14 days of hospitalisation income cover at MYR 50 (USD 12) per day starting Jan 1, 2019. The Great Eastern Life Insurance has agreed to contribute MYR 2 billion (USD 0.5 billion) to the fund, which will be managed by Bank Negara Malaysia, and expects the size of the fund to grow with more partnership and contributions from other insurance companies.

The government will also continue certain healthcare initiatives, with a MYR 20 million (USD 5 million) allocation for the free mammogram screening, HPV vaccination and pap smear tests at government hospitals and clinics, that is expected to benefit about 70,000 women. It will also provide USD 11 million to treat rare diseases, Hepatitis C, stunted growth among children, as well as to provide more haemodialysis treatments and enhanced primary healthcare.

The Ministry of Health will pilot a nationwide health screening programme, Skim Perlindungan Kesihatan (PEKA) for 800,000 individuals aged 50 and above in B40 households at a cost of MYR 100 million (USD 24 million).

(Source: Borneo Post Online; New Straits Times)

Mexter Partners Universiti Malaya To Provide Premium Fertility Services

MEDICAL - Malaysia
October 2018

Mexter Technology Berhad, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, LYC Medicare Sdn Bhd (LYC Medicare) is partnering with Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) to set up a fertility center called LYC Fertility Center.

The five-year service and collaboration agreement inked between the two parties will allow LYC Medicare to provide non-clinical services to LYC Fertility Center while UMCC will provide medical-related services to its high-end fertility patients and also to promote medical tourism to international patients. The contract comes with a five-year extension option, subject to the fulfilment of certain performance-based requirements.

LYC Medicare will leverage on the operational and medical excellence of UMMC’s fertility treatment division and market its services by establishing a premium category of service under the branding of LYC Fertility Centre to potential customers seeking treatments for infertility.

The Agreement is in line with Mexter’s current business direction and strategy to increase the revenue and profits contribution from the healthcare services business segment. With the commencement of its postpartum care business under LYC Mother & Child Centre Sdn Bhd at Plaza VADS, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, it believes the establishment of LYC Fertility Centre will allow it to generate business synergies by referral of potential customers upon successful fertility treatments.

The Agreement will also be beneficial to UMMC as it is able to attract fertility patients which are seeking premium services and also to promote medical tourism for international patients. It is expected that the Agreement will also help boost UMMC’s profile in the international market.

(Sources : The Edge Markets; The Star; Mexter)

US Hygiene Push Expected To Drive Surge In Rubber Glove Sales

MEDICAL - Malaysia
September 2018

Medical rubber glove demand in the US is anticipated to soar following the implementation of USP 800, which is expected to be enforced by December 2019. USP 800 refers to the US Pharmacopeia (USP) Convention guidelines, also known as the best-practices standard for hospitals and pharmacies. Its recommendations include that health workers put on two pairs of glove while handling hazardous drugs. The implementation of USP 800, if it materializes, will benefit rubber glove manufacturers based in Malaysia, who are producing three out of every five pairs of rubber gloves used around the world. The US market accounts for one third of the global demand for medical gloves and enjoys a normal growth rate between 8% and 12% annually. 

Some of the winners would be Top Globe Corp and Hartalega Holdings Berhad, whose FY 2017 revenue derived from North America were 31% and 59% respectively.  Top Glove is the biggest of Malaysia’s ten publicly listed rubber glove manufacturers by revenue. Other companies which stand to benefit from the increase in demand of rubber glove are Singapore-listed Riverstone Holdings Ltd and UG Healthcare Corp. Both companies are Malaysian-based manufacturers. Riverstone expects to see increase of an additional 3.5 billion pairs of glove in its supply to customers from the third or fourth quarter of 2019. According to the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (MARGMA), Malaysian manufacturers would be able to step up production if needed as the current utilization rate of their 100-odds factories nationwide stands at 75%.

(Source: The Star)

IHH Healthcare Preparing For Expanded Footprint In India

MEDICAL - Malaysia
August 2018

Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare Berhad (IHH) won a bid to take over 31.1% inn India’s Fortis Healthcare Limited (Fortis) in July 2018 and now it is putting  a 100-day plan in place to turn around the hospital chain. Its focus is on stabilization of Fortis' operations, which is facing significant challenges on multiple fronts including urgent liquidity constraints and operational issues. The plan aims to address Fortis’ inability to acquire credit lines to cover overheads including rental cost of Singapore-listed Religare Health Trust (RHT).

The former controlling shareholders of Fortis, Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, are accused of mismanagement of Fortis' finances. An unit within Fortis was alleged to have granted unsecured loans worth INR 4.45 billion (USD 64 million) to three companies affiliated with the brothers, without board approval. IHH managing director and chief executive officer Dr Tan See Leng said that IHH had conducted its due diligence and considered all key risks. 

IHH’s offer of 170 rupees per share, amounting to a total of MYR 2.348 billion (USD 572 million), beat another challenger led by Manipal Healthcare Enterprises which offered 160 rupees per share. Despite the challenging business environment in India and IHH’s legacy issues (the delayed construction of the Gleneagles Khubchandani Hospital in Mumbai, which was a 50:50 joint venture (JV) between Koncentric Investments Ltd and IHH’s Parkway Group Healthcare Pte Ltd) in investing in India, IHH remains cautiously optimistic on its acquisition of Fortis and on the prospect of becoming a leading Pan-Indian hospital operator. Fortis is currently operating more than 5,400 beds in 37 hospitals in India.

Currently, IHH is present across 5 cities in India with more than 1600 licensed beds across 7 hospitals. IHH Healthcare entered India in 2002 via a 50-50 joint venture between Apollo Hospitals and Parkway Pantai, our wholly-owned subsidiary, to form Apollo Gleneagles Hospital in Kolkata. In 2015, IHH acquired a 51% stake in Continental Hospitals in Hyderabad, a hospital with a 750-bed capacity. Subsequently, it also purchased a 73.4% acquisition of Global Hospitals with approximately 1,100 operational beds across hospitals in Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad. With this acquisition, IHH will become the second-largest private healthcare provider in India, after Apollo. 

IHH’s parent company, Khazanah Nasional has announced that IHH will be one of its key investments under the Pakatan Harapan-led government. IHH owns Singapore-based Parkway Pantai, the largest private hospital operator of Southeast Asia, and the International Medical University in Kuala Lumpur, and is also the majority shareholder of Acıbadem Healthcare Group, the largest Turkish private healthcare company. IHH owns 52.3% of the Hyderabad-based private healthcare provider Continental Hospitals Limited in India. The majority shareholder of IHH Healthcare is the Malaysian government's sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional, followed by Mitsui of Japan and Citigroup of the United States. 

(Sources: The Edge Markets; Nikkei Asia;The Star; Deal Street Asia)

MOH Malaysia Exploring Pooled Procurement For Essential Medicines

MEDICAL - Malaysia
July 2018

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is considering setting up a task force to review the ministry’s health procurement process in order to cut cost on healthcare expenses and allow better transparency and efficiency in procuring medicines and consumables. The Minister of Health Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad informed that his ministry was reviewing the end-to-end supply chain economics, aside from demand and supply issues.

Among the means being considered is the pooled procurement mechanism for essential medicines being supplied to public hospitals nationwide. This could increase the government’s bargaining power and thus reduce the prices of the drugs supplied. 

According to Dr. Dzulkefly the medicine procurement by public sector is managed through the Finance Ministry procurement policies and directives, referring to purchases by national tenders, concession agreements and direct purchases by individual health facilities such as hospitals and clinics. Last year the ministry reportedly spent around MYR 3.3 billion (USD 821,013,000) on medicines and consumable items. About 33.4% of the amount went to Pharmaniaga Berhad, one of the concessionaire companies supplying biopharmaceutical products to the government, while the remaining 66.6% went towards payment for procurement by the ministry’s facilities through central contracts or quotations. Through tendering process a total of 90 suppliers for the ministry were selected in 2017.

(Sources: The New Straits Times; Free Malaysia Today)

Malaysian Health Ministry To Seek Higher Budget For Healthcare

MEDICAL - Malaysia
June 2018

The Health Ministry is proposing to increase spending in healthcare to 6% - 7% of GDP, half of which will be coming from public allocation. The Health Minister Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad is making this proposal as one of his ministry’s priorities to deliver quality services to the people, aside from empowerment of healthcare services and security, and the welfare and workload of medical professionals.  

The minister believes that a larger allocation would also enable lower doctor-patient ratio. The present ratio is 1:600, and the ministry is hoping to reduce it to 1:400 to enable more focus and quality healthcare to be provided to each patient.

However, the increase in budget is expected to be staggered over the next few years in view of the financial constraints faced by the government due to liabilities and debt in excess of MYR 1 trillion (USD 250 billion). 

In reaction to the proposal announcement several patient support groups applauded the motion, saying that the additional allocation will be helpful in solving problems faced by patients, especially from among the low- and middle-income categories, who are seeking treatment at public hospitals. The groups also advocate the ministry’s manifesto in providing focus on cancer care, which is expected to escalate by 54% from 37,000 cancer cases in 2012 to 56,932 cases in 2025 nationwide, based on projections by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization. However IDEAS, a local think tank organization cautioned the need for the ministry to have better monitoring and evaluation of allocations for public health, as the boost in allocation may not automatically translate into better healthcare.

(Sources: New Straits Times; The Sun Daily; Free Malaysia Today)

Medical Tourism On The Rise In Malaysia

MEDICAL - Malaysia
May 2018

A recent report in the New Straits Times higlhighted the recognition of Malaysia as a preferred medical tourism destination. Malaysia has won the International Medical Travel Journal's (IMTJ) 'Destination of the Year' award for the past three years, starting from 2015.

Healthcare travel (Medical Tourism) is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country, registering an average growth rate of 16% to 17% every year. The number of healthcare tourists to the country stood exceeded one million during 2017, while domestic hospital revenue from medical tourism was RM1.3 billion (USD 325 million). The inclusion of non-medical expenditure such as hospitality services and tourism activities brought the total spending by medical tourists to around RM5 billion (USD 1.3 billion). The industry is expected to record a year-on-year growth of 16%.

The target is for hospital earnings from the tourism to grow at a cumulative annual growth rate of around 30%, so that it doubles to around RM2.8 billion (USD 700 million) by 2020.

The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), an agency under the Ministry of Health Malaysia, was set up in 2009, with the aim of raising Malaysia’s profile as the world’s top-of-mind destination for world class healthcare services. MHTC functions to facilitate the overall development of the Malaysian healthcare travel industry, by strengthening end-to-end experience from the arrival of the healthcare travellers through to their departure after treatment; securing partnerships with industry players and to enhance network and relationships; and amplifying branding and recognition.

MHTC has identified four focus countries as key target markets: Indonesia, China, Myanmar and Vietnam while continuing efforts to penetrate other important markets such as Singapore, Brunei, Bangladesh, the Middle East, India, Australia and New Zealand.

The Malaysian Government has supported the healthcare travel sector by facilitating investments in medical infrastructure for hospitals. The 2017 annual report of the National Transformation Programme (NTP), released by the Ministry of Health, noted that  several of the MTHC Elite hospitals received global and regional awards as well as certifications along the year, namely Sunway Medical Centre for orthopaedics, Prince Court Medical Centre for paediatrics and healthcare travel, TMC Fertility Centre for fertility services, and KPJ Berhad as Malaysia’s hospital of the year. All Elite Partners are accredited by international healthcare accreditation agencies, such as the Joint Commission International (JCI), Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH), the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS), Accreditations Canada, and the CHKS Accreditation Unit (UK).

(Source: Ministry of Health of Malaysia, New Straits Times)

Malaysia’s First Luxury Senior Living Concept Launched

MEDICAL - Malaysia
April 2018

A consortium consisting of Pelaburan Hartanah Bhd (PHB), UEM Group Bhd and Japan’s Medical Care Services Inc. (MCS) is set to launch Malaysia’s first luxury senior living with care services project, Rei Seraya Residence. Rei Seraya is set to cater exclusively to senior retired community and will be the first luxury senior living facility with proficient care services.

At Rei Seraya, two types of options will be provided. The first is Assisted Living, a 300 square feet unit with en-suite bathroom within an exclusive household concept, providing medium to high care services for residents. The second option is Independent Living, a 900 square feet unit with the concept of luxury two-bedroom apartments with en-suite bathroom, kitchen and living room. Care services are provided upon request by the residents. Rei Seraya Residence is targeted for launch by the end of 2018 and for starting its operations by 2021. Care services will be provided by MCS, a Japan-based company that has been providing care services for the elderly since 1999 and operates more than 280 facilities in Japan, China and the Philippines.

Malaysia’s population is increasingly ageing and by 2020, around 10% of the country’s population will be above the age of 60. By 2030, this number is projected to increase to 15%. This demographic reality has profound economic and social implications as well as healthcare concerns, leading to opportunities, according to PHB Group. The new development comes at a time when the government has identified ‘senior living’ as one of the new growth areas under the health-care sector in the Economic Transformation Programme. 

(Sources: Smart Build Asia; Star Property; The New Straits Times)

Japan Lifeline To Open Medical Devices Factory In Penang

MEDICAL - Malaysia
March 2018

MEDICAL devices manufacturer Japan Lifeline Co Ltd is investing JPY 2 billion (USD 18.7 million) to build its first overseas factory in Penang, through its Malaysian subsidiary JLL Malaysia Sdn Bhd. The factory will manufacture medical devices in cardiac rhythm management, electrophysiology/ ablation, and cardiovascular surgery for Japanese markets such as balloon catheters, electrophysiological catheters, ablation catheters and open stent grafts.

The factory, which is located at the North Penang Science Park on the mainland, is scheduled to be completed in 2020 and will have 50 specialised employees. The company's choice of Penang as a site is due to the fact that the state has a strong medical devices manufacturing sector, being home to a third of medical devices companies in the country, as well as a third of the total value of medical devices exported from Malaysia. Penang received the biggest FDI last year among the states in Malaysia at RM 8 billion. (USD 2 billion).

(Source: The Malaysian Insight)


Malaysia Becomes World's First AI-Enabled Stethoscope Production Base

MEDICAL - Malaysia
February 2018

M3DICINE, an Australian private medical device design and manufacturing company, has made Malaysia the production base of Stethee – the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI)- enabled stethoscope system. The product is a combination of AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and medical device. It was designed to work as easily as a traditional stethoscope, allowing users to listen to heart and lung sounds with sophisticated amplification and filtering technology. However, unlike the traditional stethoscope, Stethee employs machine learning, becoming more intelligent with use. It can identify patterns while monitoring the progress of individual patient’s health and help to uncover new trends in the fight against heart and lung disease globally. The Stethee Pro stethoscope is currently undergoing clinical evaluation by a group of medical practitioners and clinical researchers at the Clinical Research Centre (CRC), in the state of Perak.

M3DICINE has chosen Malaysia as its production base after a careful evaluation of several locations, which included Taiwan, South Korea and China. According to the Ministry of Health, the potential for the cutting-edge technology to be used in rural and remote areas in Malaysia is enormous, bringing high quality healthcare of the urban to the rural areas.

(Source: New Straits Times; PR Web; The Star Online)

Private Healthcare A Beneficiary Of Strong Ringgit - AmInvestment

MEDICAL - Malaysia
January 2018

AmInvestment Bank Bhd has maintained its call on the private healthcare sector in 2018 as neutral, with positive growth prospects expected globally in the long term driven by aging population, increasing life expectancy and rising affluence. The sector also enjoys an additional catalyst of a flourishing medical tourism sector, supported by competitive medical charges and hospitalization costs, English-speaking population and favourable government incentives.

Wage inflation and short-term pain such as start-up losses experienced by new hospitals will continue to upset local private healthcare operators. However they will benefit from the strengthening ringgit versus the US Dollar (USD) over the short term, as costs of key inputs such as drugs, medical supplies and medical equipment are denominated in the greenback.

A major boost in profits and revenues is anticipated among the private healthcare operators across the country if the health insurance system backed by the government is implemented, which enables Malaysian citizens seeking treatment to choose between public or private hospitals. The price difference will probably be narrower following better utilization of equipment in private hospitals which may drive hospitals to drop their charges for certain services. The biggest obstacles however remain who will be contributing to the system, by how much and the legality of free riders in the system. 

(Source: The Sun Daily Online; The Edge Markets; AmInvestment)

Malaysia To Produce World's First Halal Vaccines

MEDICAL - Malaysia
December 2017

Pharmaniaga Berhad, Malaysia’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturer and distributor, has recently entered a memorandum of collaboration with Delhi-based MSD Wellcome Trust Hilleman Laboratories Private Ltd (Hilleman) and an entity under the Malaysian Ministry of Finance known as the Technology Depository Agency (TDA). Effective for two years from the signing, the memorandum of collaboration is meant for both companies to develop and manufacture halal vaccine for the national immunization program, while TDA's role is to facilitate the collaboration.

Pharmaniaga is an active generic pharmaceuticals manufacturer with 38 operation sites in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. The partnership necessitates Pharmaniaga to establish the halal vaccines manufacturing facility, manage regulatory matters, conduct clinical trials and facilitate commercialization of the products focusing in Malaysia. The facility is expected to be completed within two to three years using internal funding. A building in one of its existing plants in Puchong, Selangor will be utilized for the purpose. Hilleman, a vaccine research organization specializing in affordable vaccines, will provide vaccine knowhow and technologies and conduct the research and development (R&D) activities. TDA on the other hand will monitor and facilitate the progress of the collaboration.

(Sources: MIDA, The New Straits Times, The Sun Daily)

India's Everstone Invests In Chemopharm

MEDICAL - Malaysia
November 2017

India's Everstone Group (via its platform Everlife) has acquired Malaysia-based Chemopharm Sdn Bhd., a leading provider of products, solutions, and services for laboratory, analytical testing, life science and healthcare. Chemopharm offers Everlife an exciting opportunity to scale the platform in existing and new geographies and into new product segments.

Founded in 1976, Chemopharm Sdn Bhd. is headquartered in Malaysia with operations in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It distributes instruments, consumables and services for scientific research and academic segments, as well as for clinical, chemical & analytical, biotech, and pharma communities. Chemopharm also provides consulting, technical and application support as part of its comprehensive offerings. It represents more than 50 prestigious principals and caters to over 4,000 customers, including hospitals, laboratories and research facilities.

The Everstone Group has significant experience in the healthcare sector. Other Everstone investments in healthcare are Rubicon, a pioneering drug delivery technology company in India, as well as OmniActive, a major supplier of naturally sourced ingredients for eye health, weight management and heart health.

(Source: Everstone)

GSK And MPS Jointly Launch myPharmAssist

MEDICAL - Malaysia
October 2017

With the aim to advance the role of pharmacists in Malaysia, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSK CH) has this month introduced myPharmAssist, a global educational program for pharmacist practitioners. Through its partnership with Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS), 1,000 pharmacy practitioners in the community will be trained nationwide, helping them to provide customer-centred care and meet the needs of an ever-evolving pharmacy landscape. 

According to the National Survey on the Use of Medicines (NSUM) by Malaysian Consumers 2016, chronic disease is on the rise and more Malaysians are turning to pharmacy practitioners in the community for counselling and information on how to manage their health, as they are most accessible health care professional in the community. More than 30% of the survey respondents were on medication to manage their chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, and 70% of them cited preference for pharmacists to seek counsel and information on medicines.

Malaysia is the first country to launch the myPharmAssist program, which provides a modular program on various topics such as pain relief, cough, flu, oral and skin health, allergy, nutrition, and even digestive. The program is delivered in three different formats - digital applications, printed materials and live meetings. All modules have both online & offline content, which is available across different devices including mobile, tablet and desktop in 3 languages: English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese.

(Source: GlaxoSmithKline)

Biocon´s Insulin Facility In Malaysia Receives EU GMP Compliance Certificate

MEDICAL - Malaysia
September 2017

Biocon´s subsidiary in Malaysia, Biocon Sdn. Bhd., has been issued a Certificate of ´GMP Compliance´ for its Insulins manufacturing facility by the HPRA (Ireland) as the representative European inspection authority. The certificate of GMP compliance reflects that the agency considered the site to be in compliance with the principles and guidelines of Good Manufacturing Practices for Active Substances, Sterile Drug Products and Quality Control Testing operations. Biocon´s Malaysia facility was inspected by the EMA in April 2017.

Biocon Sdn. Bhd. (Biocon Malaysia) is one of Asia´s largest state-of-the-art integrated insulins manufacturing facilities, set up with an investment of about USD 275 million, at the BioXcell Biotech Park in Johor, Malaysia. This is the first overseas biopharma manufacturing & research facility of Biocon and it employs over 600 professionals. The facility is designed to manufacture recombinant human insulin and insulin analogs to cater to the needs of people with diabetes in global markets.

(Source: Biocon)

Fresenius Medical Expands Manufacturing Plant In Malaysia

MEDICAL - Malaysia
September 2017

Fresenius Medical Care, a supplier of products and services for individuals with renal diseases, has expanded its regional manufacturing plant in Bandar Enstek, Malaysia. The plant is a state-of-the-art facility and will be Fresenius Medical Care's regional manufacturing hub for South East Asia. In addition to supplying high-quality hemodialysis concentrates and disinfectants, the plant produces peritoneal dialysis (PD) products necessary for advanced continuous ambulatory PD treatment. 

Malaysia has about 43,000 dialysis patients and providing excellent renal care is extremely important. Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) is a form of dialysis that uses the natural lining of the patient’s abdomen to filter waste from the blood that the patients will have the option to perform this at home.

This will be the second plant of Fresenius Medical Care in Malaysia. At Ipoh, the company produces Water Treatment Systems to ensure high water quality essential for dialysis. The Fresenius Medical Care’s investment project will bring the positive impact on the local economy. Plans to further expand the product portfolio and production capacity for local and regional markets are already in place.

(Sources: Fresenius; Nasdaq)

Malaysian Health Tourism Generates Economic Opportunities

MEDICAL - Malaysia
August 2017

Malaysian health tourism industry sector registered a growth of 23% in 2016 with revenue of MYR 1.12 billion (USD 0.26 billion), up from MYR 914 million (USD 213.65 million) in 2015. The country cites affordability, top-of-the-line technology and continuous sector improvement as the major forces pushing the growth of the industry.

In 2016, about 900,000 medical tourists required treatment in Malaysia, as compared to 859,000 in 2015. Majority of the medical tourists are from Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Indochina (Myanmar, Vietnam), and Middle Eastern countries, Australia, China, and Japan. Malaysia continues to be the preferred location for health travelers as it offers world-class healthcare, including professional healthcare supported by the latest medical technology.

Medical processes such as surgeries also rate cheaper in Malaysia compared to developed countries’ services, making it a practical destination for patients seeking heart surgeries and the like.

Malaysia has been ranked by International Medical Travel Journal as the 'Health Tourism Destination' in the last three years.

(Sources: The Sun Daily; Bernama)

Ambulance Services Via An App

MEDICAL - Malaysia
July 2017

A local online platform for on-demand healthcare services, Doctor2U has now expanded their services to include a feature that lets users request for an ambulance on-demand, the first in Malaysia to offer this through an app. The company's recent partnership with Microsoft allowed this new feature to be released quicker as Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform is helping to power it. Azure’s SignalR websocket framework allow customers to view the real-time location of their ambulance and see an estimated arrival time. Doctor2U has partnered with Falck First Ambulance with a total of 20 ambulances allocated. The feature will also make use of Falck’s retainer agreements with top private hospitals including Pantai, Gleneagles and Prince Court to provide ambulatory services for them. Since Malaysian roads can be unpredictable with traffic and weather conditions, the feature does not provide any time guarantee but Doctor2U estimates the response time will be twice as fast compared to the standard 999 calls.

(Source: Vulcan Post)

Malaysia And Indonesia Form Partnership

MEDICAL - Malaysia
June 2017

The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) and five Indonesian strategic partners have signed an exclusive partnership agreement on health tourism. The five private companies are tourism enterprises Golden Rama Tours and Travel, PT AntaVaya Leisure, health insurance companies PT AdMedika and ImCare 177, as well as CIMB Niaga Bank.

MHTC is keen to adopt a more strategic approach to services for medical tourists from Indonesia, as that country remains by far, the biggest provider of medical tourists. Malaysia failed to achieve the target of a million medical tourists in 2016, with the latest estimates almost identical to the 2015 figure of 860,000. Half of these are from Indonesia.

The target for 2017 is a million, including 600,000 from Indonesia. MHTC figures are of international patients, not just medical tourists, with expatriates and other foreign nationals estimated to account for between 100,000 and 150,000 of the total. Most Indonesian patients visiting Malaysia are seeking medical treatment for cardiology, orthopaedics, neurology, and oncology; plus fertility and dental treatment, cosmetic surgery and rehabilitation.

(Sources: MHTC, Bernama)

World Health Organization Wants To Tap Malaysia’s Medical Expertise

MEDICAL - Malaysia
May 2017

Impressed with Malaysia’s medical research work and making medicine more accessible and affordable, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed interest in harnessing its expertise the newly elected WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was particularly fascinated with the progress of Malaysia’s work on Hepatitis C curative treatment in collaboration with Drug for Neglected Disease initiatives.

WHO is looking into harnessing the expertise based on this unique model of the research ecosystem in Malaysia to bring down the cost of medicine they highlighted crucial issues close to the heart of many in developing countries such as cost and access to diagnostics and medicine, where the health ministry are convinced that this new partnership model can close the gap of equitable access to medicine.

(Sources: WHO, Bernama)

Malaysia Receives Best Medical Travel Award For Third Consecutive Year

MEDICAL - Malaysia
April 2017

Malaysia won the Health and Medical Tourism Destination of the Year award for three consecutive years. The International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) Awards 2017 was awarded to Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), the awards ceremony was hosted in conjunction with the IMTJ Medical Travel Summit which took place in Opatija on April 25 and 26.

The award, judged by a team of 23 judges from around the world, has further cemented the country's position as the top leading medical tourism destination that provides top-notch and innovative healthcare services. In the inaugural IMTJ Awards 2017, private hospitals also won four awards - for International Hospital of the Year (Sunway Medical Centre), Best Marketing Initiative (Sunway Medical Centre), International Fertility Clinic of the Year (TMC Fertility Centre) and Best Quality Initiative - Highly Commendable (Sunway Medical Centre).The annual IMTJ Medical Travel Awards recognize innovation, excellence and best practices in the medical travel and medical tourism sector.

(Sources: Bernama, The Sun News)

Malaysian Health Ministry To Introduce New Module To Reduce Healthcare Cost

MEDICAL - Malaysia
March 2017

Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) is currently working on a module for a better private and public partnership to optimize the current healthcare delivery system and reduce healthcare cost. The MOH mentioned this was due to the increase in Malaysia's total health expenditure in the recent years.

In 2015, the total health expenditure for Malaysia was MYR 52 billion (USD 12.13 billion) with 49% from the private healthcare system and 51% from the public healthcare system. The cost for healthcare has relatively increased and at the same time, the lifespan of Malaysia has also increased. Although we do have modern technology which can help, the cost, however, is too expensive. The gross domestic product for healthcare spending has increased 2 and a half times more in the span of 17 years and 39% of total health care expenditure was taken out of pocket costs.

(Sources: New Straits Times, Reuters)

Medical Tourism Expected To Hit MYR 1.29 billion In Revenue In 2017

MEDICAL - Malaysia
February 2017

The medical tourism industry in Malaysia is predicted to achieve its targeted revenue of MYR 1.29 billion (USD 0.30 billion) in 2017 according to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC). The industry was experiencing a 30% growth year-on-year, Malaysia has the ecosystem and infrastructure to provide quality end-to-end healthcare system and services that are globally competitive.

On average, medical travelers’ contributions to the economy were double that of the regular tourists. A foreign patient would spend about MYR 858 (USD 200) per visit, not including other expenditures while being in the country and revenue from medical tourism stood at MYR 0.99 billion (USD 0.23 billion) in the 2016 financial year. On prospects, MHTC estimated that 1 million visitors would flock to Malaysia this year, contributing up to MYR 5 billion (USD1.17 billion) to the total gross domestic product.

(Sources: Bernama, The Straits Times)

Medical Glove Prices To Soar Due To Latex Shortage

MEDICAL - Malaysia
January 2017

The price of Standard Malaysian Rubber (SMR20) spiked over the MYR 8.6 (USD 2) per kg mark in January, fuelled by a shortage of latex, which means that medical glove exports are set to be costlier. National Association of Smallholders Malaysia (Nash) mentions that rubber prices have risen sharply in the past week. Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) said that medical glove pricing is set to rise as manufacturers are facing a shortage of natural as well as synthetic latex.

Natural latex sold in bulk, was MYR 7.2 (USD 1.67) per kg and today it jumped to MYR 7.7 (USD 1.80) per kg in the spot market and Synthetic latex, the main feedstock to make nitrile medical gloves, has spiked by more than 55% to MYR 6,392 (USD 1,490) per tonne from MYR 4,058 (USD 946) per tonne in September 2016. Due to nitrile latex shortage, prices have surged by more than MYR 1,287 (USD 300) per tonne to MYR 6,392 (USD 1,490) for February deliveries.

(Sources: New Straits Times, The Star Online)

Singapore’s Thomson Medical To Build A Hospital Complex In Johor Bahru

MEDICAL - Malaysia
December 2016

Thomson Medical, a private healthcare group from Singapore is planning to build a hospital complex worth MYR 5 billion (USD 1.17 billion) to be ready in stages as soon as by 2020. The 11 hectares complex will comprise a general and community hospital, specialist center, medical school with research facilities, and residences for the elderly requiring rehabilitation treatment. Targeting Singaporeans looking to get medical treatment at lower prices, the site is located a mere five-minute drive from the Causeway.

It is not unordinary for Singaporeans to travel between the two cities for medical treatment. Some of them are already residing in nursing homes in Johor Bahru, while Parkway Health’s Gleneagles Medini has been opened in December 2015 with 300 beds capacity. The 500 beds hospital will be constructed first beginning in 2017 and completed by 2020, followed by the community hospital and medical school. The whole complex is expected to be completed in 10 years’ time.

The medical school will be training between 200 and 250 students per cohort, mainly nurses and allied healthcare professionals together with a handful of doctors to ease the pressing needs in Singapore, which is relying heavily on foreign-trained nurses at the moment.

(Source: The Straits Times)

Increase In Medical Insurance Premium

MEDICAL - Malaysia
November 2016

In the height of escalating medical costs at the rate of 15% annually, the premium for medical insurance in Malaysia has been increased between an estimate of 10% and 30%. Policyholders have been notified of the hike since early 2016, even though some of the policies will only have the hike implemented in next year. It is anticipated that the pricier coverage will affect the Central Bank’s goal to have 75% of the population covered by insurance come 2020.

Medical policies in the country are also subjected to Goods and Services Tax (GST) recently introduced in April 2015. The National Association of Malaysian Life Insurance and Family Takaful Advisors expressed hopes that the government will consider relieving necessity policies covering hospitalization and critical illnesses from GST. At the moment life insurance is being exempted from GST, but other traditional and investment-linked policies with medical, critical illness or personal accident benefits are taxed.

(Source: The Star)

Rise In Medical Charges For First And Second Class Wards Starting In 2017

MEDICAL - Malaysia
November 2016

Ministry of Health has confirmed that the medical charges for the first and second class at the government hospitals will be raised starting in 2017 following reduced subsidies to the patients from the wards, affecting 1.6% of the population. While the revised rates are yet to be confirmed, the move was seen as appropriate with the costs of operations in hospitals keep on increasing. The last time a revision to the charges made was in 1982. The rise will not affect the outpatient treatment charge and the specialist outpatient treatment charge currently amounting to MYR 1 (USD 0.23) and MYR 5 (USD 1.17) respectively. The medical charges for medical services provided by mobile clinics operating via land, air or sea remain free.

A total of two million patients were recorded seeking treatment at the government hospitals nationwide with 32,000 of them treated at the first and second class wards. As the first and second class patients might have opted to be treated at the private hospitals instead, the Ministry is hoping that the saving generated by the subsidy cut on the first and second class patients will be channelled to obtain additional medicine for the third class patients.

A total of MYR 25 billion (USD 5.8 billion) has been allotted for the Ministry of Health in the budget for 2017. Currently 75% of the Malaysian population choose to go for medical treatment at the government hospitals, while the remaining 25% can afford to visit private healthcare providers for their medical needs.

(Sources: MIMS, The New Straits Times)