Current Market Trends
Capital: Phnom Penh Population: 14.68 million (2013)
GDP: US$18,502 million (2015)
Currency: Khmer Riel
The Cambodian health market is comprised of a wide variety and range of health-care providers, including public health facilities, pharmacies, private hospitals, and medical professional services operating from their own facilities or traveling directly to patients’ homes. Two-thirds of public health staff also work separately in some private capacity. NGO-run health facilities and charitable hospitals also provide services. Qualified private providers and pharmacies are mostly available in urban areas. In 2015, there were approximately 2,000 registered pharmacies, 300 drug import/export companies, and 13 medical manufacturing institutions in Cambodia. There are also informal health providers which include vendors selling drugs from shops or markets, traditional birth attendants, and traditional healers.
The public sector is dominant in promotion and prevention activities for essential reproductive, maternal, neonatal and pediatric health, and major communicable diseases control. However, private practitioners remain popular for curative care. According to the 2010 Cambodian Demographic and Health Survey, only 29% of sick or injured patients sought care first at public sector facilities, while 57% sought care from private health providers. Most high income and some middle-income people seek medical treatment abroad for emergency cases, primarily in Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore.
While government funding for health care has increased significantly to 12% of total government budget, it remained at only 1.4% of GDP in 2013. Official development assistance accounted for 15% to 20% of total health care funding. Out-of-pocket payments (household expenditure on healthcare), mostly for private health care services, totaled 61% of the total health expenditures.
Cambodia allows 100% foreign ownership of businesses. However, to better enter the Cambodian market, it is recommended that U.S. companies work with local partners (agents or distributors) who have good experience and knowledge of the local market, rules, and regulations. A reputable local partner is also key to maintaining good relationships with local customers whose procurement decisions are influenced mostly by trust.
The Ministry of Health is the single largest purchaser of drugs, medical supplies, and medical equipment, though as a whole the proportion of healthcare provided by the private sector exceeds that of public institutions. A number of new private hospitals and clinics have opened in the past few years, and more are expected in the future.
The dental market is gaining increased interest from medical tourists from developed countries such as Japan, Australia, and the Middle East. Approximately 20 dental clinics in Phnom Penh are operating in accordance with international standards, with appropriate ISO certification and western-trained dentists.
Over the last decade, the Cambodian population has become more knowledgeable about the importance of health care and health supplements, and nutrition products are becoming more popular.
The main competitors of U.S. medical device companies are from Japan and European countries, mainly Germany. Consumable health care products from China are also very competitive in the market.
Companies from Australia, New Zealand, U.K, Germany, the Czech Republic, Korea and Japan also market health supplements in Cambodia.
Medical devices with the best sales prospects in Cambodia include diagnostic devices and imaging equipment such as ultrasound machines, x-ray machines, and TC scanners.
The demand for supplement products has increased in the last several years, particularly in Phnom Penh and the larger provincial towns in Cambodia. Two major U.S. supplement brands have gained popularity in Cambodia recently: Unicity and Herbalife.
Imported medicines and medical products must be registered at the Ministry of Health for laboratory testing.
Medical devices are divided into four categories according to their levels of risk (low, fairly low, fairly high, and high). The minimum required documents for registration include an application form, GMP or ISO certificates, a free sale certificate, a letter of authorization, and the product’s manual. Registration of the latter three categories also requires registration certificates from the country of export, an analysis report from the manufacturer, and technical documents. The product registration process should normally take three to six months. However, it might take up to 10 months to one year depending on the Ministry of Health’s product registration work load. The registration certificate is valid for three years from the date of issuance. The company must re-apply for a new registration certificate six months before the expiration of the previous certificate. All imported pharmaceutical products are required to have at least 18 months validity before the expiry date.
There are no specific barriers for foreign firms to import medical products into Cambodia. Three types of pharmaceutical products are restricted in Cambodia: narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and precursors. Medical importers need to send their products to the Ministry of Health for testing to determine if they fall under any specific restrictions.
There are currently no health fairs or related trade events scheduled to take place in Cambodia.
Since U.S.-made drugs and medical equipment are regarded as high-quality, there is potential for increasing the market share. Local major pharmaceutical importers are eager to import U.S.-made products, and Cambodian consumers are keen to receive high-quality treatment made possible by U.S. medical products.
U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information
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Position: Econ/Commercial Specialist
Phone: (855) 23 728 158
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