Current Market Trends
Procurement & Tenders
Capital: Phnom Penh Population: 15.9 million (2016)
GDP: US$22.2 Billion (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 works 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. As of May 2017, there were 2,248 registered pharmacies, 381 drug import/export companies and branches, and 19 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 2014 Cambodian Demographic and Health Survey, only 21.9% of sick or injured patients sought care first at public sector facilities, while 67.1% sought care from private health providers. Within the private sector, private pharmacies were most often visited for treatment in urban areas (41%), and private clinics were the most common source in rural areas (17%). Most high income and some middle-income people seek medical treatment abroad for emergency cases, primarily in Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore.
Although government funding for health care increased nominally, the percentage allocated to the health sector in the total government budget decreased from 12% to 8.4% in 2017, and stood at 2% of GDP in 2016 (including foreign donation). Official development assistance accounted for around 18% of total health care expenditures. Out-of-pocket payments (household expenditure on healthcare), mostly for private health care services, totaled 62% 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.
There has been a tremendous progress in pharmaceutical products in Cambodia with an annual growth of approximately 10%. Private pharmacies are first visited for treatment by 41% of ill and injured patients in urban areas. Local major pharmaceutical importers are eager to import U.S.-made products, and Cambodian consumers are keen to receive high-quality treatment offered by American medical products.
Import of Medicines
Unit: USD thousands
Data Source: Ministry of Economy and Finance
Health insurance targeting the growing middle class would fill an unmet demand. Poorer populations are increasingly targeted by government and nongovernmental organization healthcare insurance; and wealthier populations purchase policies from international insurance companies. The middle-class, by contrast, has relatively few options for reliable insurance.
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. By 2016, there are 931 types of health supplements registered in the Cambodian market.
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, Poland, 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 CT 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.
The availability of options in health insurance in Cambodia is very minimal. With an increasing middle class population, there is growing demand for reliable health insurance. From 2015 to 2016, the Cambodian insurance market saw an increase of approximately 30% in medical insurance gross premium.
Imported medicines and medical products must be registered at the Ministry of Health for laboratory testing.
There are no government controls or reimbursement systems for drugs in Cambodia.
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 annual health fairs in Cambodia that take place in September. The health fairs include companies that represent pharmaceutical products, medical equipment and devices, hospital services, and dental care. In 2017, the event will take place in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, from September 15-17.
How long does registration of medical products take in Cambodia?
On average, the products take between 6-12 months depending on the level of complexity, bureaucracies and relationships. Most local companies are willing to assist with registering products once you partner with them. In addition, there are also agencies to deal with registrations on a fee-based service. For more information on local professional services, please go to: http://apps.export.gov/article?id=Cambodia-Local-Professional-Services
What are the rates of custom duties for medical products in Cambodia?
Various medical products have different custom duties ranging from 0-35%. More information can be found at http://www.customs.gov.kh/publication-and-resources/customs-tariff-of-cambodia-2017/
What is the practical market entry strategy would you recommend?
Working with a local partner, such as an agent or distributor, is the most effective way to reach Cambodian consumers. A local partner can facilitate and expedite market entry through market knowledge and established networks. In Cambodia, personal relationships can be the key to successful business transactions.
Healthcare spending (including investment)
... as percent of GDP
Hospitals, Procedures, Healthcare Professionals UN:
Number of hospitals
33 National/Provincial Hospitals (2016)
Number of hospital beds
... available beds per capita
Number of surgical procedures
0.17/1000 population (2013)
476 Dentists, Dental Assistants, and Dental Nurses (2016)
15,957,223 (2016 est.)
Life expectancy men/women
62 years old/67.1 years old
48.7 deaths/1,000 live births
Percent of population older than 65
7.6/1000 (2016 est.)
Around 37% caused by Communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions
Around 24% caused by Cardiovascular diseases
U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information
Name: SOKKEA HOY
Position: Commercial Specialist
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