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Healthcare Resource Guide: Hong Kong

Hong Kong Statistics

Summary
Market Entry

Current Market Trends

Main Competitors

Current Demand

Registration Process
Reimbursement

Barriers

Best Prospects

CS Contacts

Market Size

Capital: Not Applicable
HK is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
Population:
7.38 million
GDP*:
US$319 billion
Currency:
Hong Kong Dollars (HK$)
Language:
Cantonese, English, Mandarin Chinese

Summary

Hong Kong relies heavily on imports to satisfy its medical equipment needs since the city’s medical equipment production is low. Total medical equipment imports in 2016 amounted to US$1.86 billion, representing an increase of ten percent over 2015. The United States was the market leader in the high-end market segment, capturing about 19 percent of the total import market in 2016, a decrease of 0.5 percent of total market share from 2015.

Hong Kong is also a sourcing point for medical products for mainland China. In 2016, transshipment of medical equipment to China through Hong Kong amounted to US$855 million; accounting for approximately 44 percent of Hong Kong’s medical equipment re-exports to all destinations.

Market Entry

The best practice for U.S. exporters of pharmaceutical products, medical equipment and devices to expand into the Hong Kong market is through Hong Kong agents and distributors. These agents and distributors can be helpful in marketing U.S. healthcare products in Hong Kong and sometimes in mainland China. Hong Kong-based agents and distributors usually include Macau in their sales territory, and may have networks in cities in mainland China. U.S. exporters of healthcare products without an office in Hong Kong are required to appoint a Local Responsible Person (LRP). This LRP can be the Hong Kong distributor or an independent third party but has to be based in Hong Kong. The LRPs serve as intermediary and communicate with the end-users, importers, the Hong Kong Government and the U.S. exporters to ensure safe and efficacious use of the products.

Current Market Trends

The top deadly diseases in Hong Kong are cancer, pneumonia, heart and cerebrovascular diseases, which together accounted for about 68.1 percent of all registered deaths in 2016. Elderly people are the major victims of these chronic non-communicable diseases. As Hong Kong’s aging population grows, opportunities exist for technologies that prevent and treat these diseases or reduce disability caused by them.

Main Competitors

American healthcare technology is widely recognized as some of the most advanced available in the market today. The United States was the market leader in the high-end market segment. European, especially German, and Japanese companies are strong competitors for U.S. medical equipment and products. European medical equipment has a long record of product reliability and Japanese suppliers attend to the needs of their customers, as reflected in their product designs.

Current Demand

Hong Kong’s population aged 65 or above is expected to surge from the current 1.2 million to 2.6 million by 2041. The rapidly aging population will need elder care facilities, such as nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, as well as products for the elderly.

The people of Hong Kong are becoming more health conscious and focused on preventive care, which increasingly includes routine vaccinations, screening for various cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, prenatal care and regular wellness visits.

Due to various government campaigns, the Hong Kong public is becoming more aware of oral health. Cosmetic dentistry has also become very popular in the last several years.

Registration Process

Medical Devices:

Currently, there is no specific legislative control over the importation and sale of medical devices in Hong Kong. A framework for regulating the supply of medical devices was proposed in July 2003. It is largely in line with that recommended by the International Medical Device Regulators Forum. Until the enactment of such legislation, the Medical Device Administrative Control System will continue to take effect. The Medical Device Administrative Control System has the following features:

  • a listing system for medical devices, under which manufacturers and importers of medical devices could voluntarily list their medical devices with the Department of Health; and
  • an adverse incident reporting system, through which the manufacturers, importers, users, and the general public could report adverse incidents to the Department of Health.

Pharmaceutical Products

Medicines to be applied on human or animal bodies for diagnosis, treatment, relief or prevention of diseases must be registered with the Hong Kong Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PBB) prior to their sale in the Hong Kong market. Pharmaceutical products are required to conform to the standards on safety, efficacy and quality before they can obtain registration. Detailed information on the registration process is available from:

http://www.drugoffice.gov.hk/eps/do/en/doc/guidelines_forms/guid.pdf

Reimbursement

Unlike in the United States, it is the patient who pays for private medical services and gets reimbursed by the insurance company. No reimbursement is provided by Hong Kong’s government agencies.

The healthcare system of HK runs on a dual-track basis encompassing the public and the private sectors. Public healthcare is the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s healthcare system, providing service for all citizens. Public hospitals and clinics in Hong Kong together provide approximately 90% hospital medical service and 29% outpatient medical service throughout Hong Kong. The public healthcare system provides inpatient service at a very low flat rate (all services inclusive) of US$15.5/day/bed and outpatient service at US$6.5/attendance.

Hong Kong’s private healthcare system allows patients the option of choosing doctors and avoiding long waits at public institutions. Medical insurance for the private and more expensive healthcare system are offered by multinational insurance companies and some financial institutions. Many different insurance plans are available to meet individuals’ insurance coverage and wellness needs.

Barriers

Hong Kong is a duty free port. There are no barriers or limitations to the import of U.S. medical equipment, devices and products.

Procurement & Tenders

The Hospital Authority (HA) manages Hong Kong's public hospitals services. HA normally purchases by open tender. Detailed tender information is available from this website:

http://www.ha.org.hk/visitor/ha_visitor_text_index.asp?Content_ID=2001&Lang=ENG&Dimension=1

Trade Events

 

Hong Kong International Dental Expo and Symposium

August 4-6, 2017

https://www.hkideas.org/index.php

 

Hong Kong International Medical Devices and Supplies Fair

May 7-9, 2018

http://m.hktdc.com/fair/hkmedicalfair-en/HKTDC-Hong-Kong-International-Medical-Devices-and-Supplies-Fair.html?

Local Associations

Hong Kong Doctors Union

Website: www.hkdu.org/

Description: Hong Kong Doctors Union is the only trade union for all doctors in Hong Kong. Its primary objective is to safeguard the welfare and rights of doctors.

The Hong Kong Medical Association

Website: www.hkma.org/eindex.htm

Description: The Hong Kong Medical Association represents the interests of medical practitioners in Hong Kong. With a membership of approximately 8,500, which comprises the majority of registered medical practitioners in Hong Kong, the Association nominates members to serve various medical and related statutory and non-statutory institutions.

The Private Hospitals Association

Website: www.privatehospitals.org.hk

Description: The Hong Kong Private Hospitals Association represents the interests of the 12 private hospitals in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Dental Association

Website: www.hkda.org

Description: The Hong Kong Dental Association has a membership of 2,000 dental professionals, representing about 90% of registered dentists in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Dental Association is committed to its members and to the improvement of oral health for the public.

Government Links:

Healthcare Procurement: http://www.dh.gov.hk/english/tender/tender.html

https://www.ha.org.hk/visitor/ha_visitor_text_index.asp?Content_ID=2001&Lang=ENG&Dimension=100

Government Health Plans: http://www.vhis.gov.hk/en/home/index.html

FAQs

What is the existing legislative control of medical devices in Hong Kong?

Currently, there is no mandatory legislation that regulates the manufacture, import, export, sale and use of medical devices in Hong Kong. However, depending on the nature and characteristics of the products concerned, some products may be regulated by existing pieces of legislation such as the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138), the Radiation Ordinance (Cap 303), the Telecommunications Ordinance (Cap 106), etc.

A legal control framework for medical devices is now being developed by the Hong Kong Government to ensure product safety and quality. Meanwhile, the Medical Device Administrative Control System (MDACS) provides a voluntary listing of various classes of medical devices in Hong Kong.

What is the existing legislative control of clinical trial of medical devices?

Currently there is no specific legislation to regulate clinical trial of medical devices in Hong Kong. However, depending on the nature of the devices concerned, they may be subject to regulatory control of existing legislations.

U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information

Name: Olevia Yim

Position: Sr. Commercial Specialist

Email: olevia.yim@trade.gov

Phone: (852) 2521-1467

Best Prospects

  • In Vitro Diagnostic Equipment and Reagents (including reagents, reagent products, calibration materials, control materials, kits, instruments, apparatus, equipment, and systems that are intended for use in the examination of specimens taken from the human body (tissue, blood, urine, etc.) to diagnose diseases, to monitor a person’s state of health, or to monitor therapeutic procedures.)
  • Implantable and Intervention Materials (any active medical device intended to be totally or partially introduced into the human body and is intended to remain after the procedure. Examples include implantable cardiac pacemakers, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, implantable neuro stimulator systems, cardiac stents, trauma implants, and hip replacement implants).
  • Imaging Products (technologies that are used to view the human body in order to diagnose, monitor, or treat medical conditions. Examples include radiography; computed tomography, and fluoroscopy).

Market Size

Government healthcare spending (including investment)

US$ 7.8 billion

Private healthcare spending

US$ 8.1 billion

Total healthcare spending

US$15.9 billion

... as percent of GDP

5.7%

... of which spent on inpatient services (including long-term care)

US$ 10.7 billion

... of which spent on medical goods outside the patient care setting

US$ 1.5 billion

... of which spent on investments

US$ 749 million

... of which spent on day patient hospital services

US$ 706 million

Hospitals, Procedures, Healthcare Professionals

Number of hospitals

54

…Public

42

…Private

12

Number of hospital beds

31909

... available beds per 1,000 population

4.32

Number of surgical procedures

485199 (in public hospitals)

...of which classified as “Minor”

299308

...of which classified as “Major”

102328

Physicians

14013

Dentists

2441

Demographics

Population

7.38 million

Life expectancy men/women

81.3 (male) / 87.3 (female)

Infant mortality

1.5

Percent of population older than 65

1.16 million

...projection, 2030

2.11 million

Annual deaths

46,900

...caused by [highest disease burden]

neoplasms

...caused by [second highest]

diseases of the respiratory system

Prevalence of [fastest growing disease burden]

diseases of the respiratory system


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