Healthcare Resource Guide: Philippines

Philippines Statistics

Flag of Philippines


Market Entry

Current Market Trends

Main Competitors

Current Demand

Registration Process



Procurement & Tenders

Trade Events

Best Prospects

CS Contacts

Market Size

Capital: Manila

Population: 102.6 million (July 2016)

GDP: $311.7 billion (2016)

Currency: Philippine Peso (PhP)

Language: Pilipino (official; based on Tagalog) and English (official)


The Philippine medical equipment market remains a lucrative one for U.S. suppliers. Highly dependent on imports, the market continues to expand at a steady pace. Medical equipment is almost 100% imported, as are approximately 50% of medical disposables. Local production is limited to prototype units, spare parts (including improvised parts), and disposables such as surgical gloves, syringes, and needles.

Major factors impacting demand are population growth, steady economic growth (estimated at 6.9% for 2017-2018), and hospital expansion and upgrading.

In the private sector, three hospital developers -- Metro Pacific Investments Co

rporation (MPIC), QualiMed Health Network (Qualimed), and Mt. Grace Hospitals, Inc. (MGHI) -- continue to expand through acquisitions of existing facilities (MPIC and MGHI) and through construction/development of new hospital projects (Qualimed).

Official Department of Health statistics indicate that there are more than 1,800 licensed hospitals in the country, of which about 60% are privately owned. Total bed capacity is more than 100,000. Hospitals base buying decisions on quality, but above all, on price.

Buyer preference for U.S.- manufactured equipment is justified by product technology and quality, access to warranty parts and service, and available training for equipment handling. U.S. brands, however, face increasing third-country competition from China, Germany, Singapore, and South Korea.

The market is price-sensitive, which explains the growing presence of inexpensive equipment from China or South Korea. Hospitals with limited budget source medical equipment from these countries.

The import duty on medical equipment is three percent, plus a 12% value-added tax (VAT).

An ASEAN Medical Device Regulatory Harmonization Workshop, which the Philippines hosted in 2015, is part of an ongoing initiative to improve and standardize the medical device regulatory process in the region. Its ultimate objective is to facilitate the regulatory process for medical device registration in ASEAN member countries.

Market Entry

U.S. suppliers interested in selling in the Philippines should appoint a local distributor, who will handle all aspects of importation including registration, obtaining a license, and getting customs clearance for the products. The local distributor not only helps facilitate the product's entry into the market, but also assumes responsibility for advertising and promotion through sales and dealer networks. He/she registers with the Food & Drug Authority (FDA, formerly the Bureau of Food and Drugs) before operating and receives a License to Import and a License to Operate (LTO) from the FDA.

The average tariff rate for Medical equipment is 3% plus a 12% value-added tax (VAT). The VAT is based on the valuation determined by the Bureau of Customs for the application of customs duties, plus those duties themselves, excise taxes, and other charges (i.e., charges on imports prior to release from customs custody, demurrage fees, including insurance and commissions).

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is responsible for customs valuation, classification, and clearance functions.

Current Market Trends

Public hospitals tend to place a greater emphasis on preventive healthcare, while private hospitals concentrate on curative services. Private hospitals are equipped with more sophisticated medical equipment due to their higher budgets.

Incidence rates for hypertension and heart diseases, lung and kidney diseases, and other respiratory diseases have remained high. Most hospital improvements concentrate on specialized services for radiology, cardiac, lung and kidney examinations, and pathology to address the problem. Demand for ECGs, CT Scans, X-ray and Dialysis machines, and other laboratory instruments will continue to grow.

Main Competitors

The U.S. performs well with high value, low volume medical equipment such as ultrasound equipment, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment, breathing equipment, and other radiology and electronic medical equipment. U.S. manufacturers continue to face increasing competition from third country suppliers such as China, Germany, Singapore, and Korea.

Current Demand

The Philippines has made significant investments and advances in health in recent years. Rapid economic growth and strong country capacity have contributed to Filipinos living longer and healthier. However, not all the benefits of this growth have reached the most vulnerable groups and the health system remains fragmented. National health insurance now covers 92% of the population. The goal is 100% coverage.

Current demand reflects healthcare requirements for growing incidences of hypertension, diabetes, respiratory ailments, and cancer. Products with high sales potential for U.S. suppliers include electro-cardiographs, computed tomography apparatus (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment, ultrasonic scanning machines (ultrasound), x-ray and radiation equipment, breathing appliances, and linear accelerators. Demand for laboratory products, supplies, and biological rapid test kits also exist.

Requirements for efficient healthcare services, new technology, and equipment replacement drive market growth. All hospitals must continue upgrading facilities to remain competitive.

The current administration is keen on pushing for the deployment of more doctors in the Philippine countryside and better pay for them to ensure better health for the majority of Filipinos. The increasing demand for health services is not being met by the current number of health facilities and medical workers. The government plans to build more health facilities in the countryside and train or hire more healthcare professionals.

Medical device distributors expect from 5-10% growth through 2018.

Registration Process

Foreign suppliers usually appoint a licensed distributor to represent their interests in the Philippines. Distributors handle all aspects of importation, including product registration. Distributors assume responsibility for a medical device’s capability, safety, market performance, and after-sales service; thus, prefer exclusive contracts with foreign suppliers.

The Center for Device Regulation, Radiation Health and Research (CDRRHR) under the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA), was created to oversee the regulation of medical devices/equipment. The Center issues a Certificate of Registration (CPR) upon completion of assessment of a medical product, which they deem “registrable.” Average timeline for a CPR is 180 calendar days.

The CDRRHR also issues a Certificate of Exemption (COE) for medical devices that have not been classified as “registrable,” pending new guidelines for expansion of coverage. The COE is voluntary and usually requested by firms that wish to facilitate release of shipment from Customs, or to participate in bids. The requirements for the issuance of a Certificate of Exemption (COE) are:

  • Letter of intent
  • Product brochure
  • Sample (only when necessary)
  • Payment of Certificate of Exemption application fee of 500 pesos (approximately US$10.00) per product.

A Certificate of Exemption may be obtained in 30 calendar days; after all required documents have been submitted to and accepted by the CDRRHR.

The foreign company must provide complete documentation for its medical device to the distributor who will register them. Complete and correct documentation determines the outcome of registration and the length of registration process.

The CDRRHR confirmed that medical equipment is still considered non-registrable at this time.


The use of Medical devices in treatment or therapies is included in a patient's total bill, which is subsidized by a personal health insurance and the national insurance. Philippine Health Insurance or Philhealth is the national health insurance of the Philippines whose aim is 100% coverage for its citizens. (


There are no barriers to the sale or purchase of medical equipment of acceptable international standards. Because medical equipment is non-registrable at this time, i.e., does not require Certificate of Product Registration (CPR), the CDRRHR issues a Certificate of Exemption, usually upon request of the Philippine importer, to facilitate the release of imported medical equipment from Bureau of Customs custody.

Procurement and Tenders

The Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System or PhilGEPS is the single, centralized electronic portal that serves as the primary and definitive source of information on government procurement. The PhilGEPS website provides guidance on participating in a government bid. (

Trade Events

American Association of Clinical Chemistry / Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo 2017

July 30 – August 3, 2017 / San Diego, CA

Medica 2017

November 13-16, 2017 / Dusseldorf, FRG

Arab Health 2018

January 29- February 1, 2018 / Dubai, UAE

Local Associations

American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines/Healthcare & Wellness; Pharmaceutical Working Group:

Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (

Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (

Philippine Association of Medical Device Regulatory Affairs Professionals (PAMDRAP)

Philippine Medical Association (

Philippine Hospital Association (

Government Links

Department of Health (

Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or Philhealth (

Healthcare Procurement:;

Best Prospects

Developments in the market continue to present opportunities for U.S. manufacturers and distributors of high-value, low-volume products of the latest technology and highest quality, such as electro-medical devices, imaging equipment, radiation equipment, dialysis devices, and linear accelerators, where they excel in.


Can US exporters of medical devices sell directly to hospitals?

Yes, as long as a hospital has a license to import; however, most hospitals prefer working with an authorized distributor who is able to provide warranties and after-sale services.

How can US companies sell their medical devices in the Philippines?

US exporters may work through authorized distributors who have experience in handling importations, customs clearance, FDA registration, and with hospitals. The US Commercial Service in the Philippines can assist exporters meet their objectives by introducing them to qualified, potential distributors. These distributors are FDA licensed and have been vetted by our office. We offer these through various programs of the US Commercial Service, which are described in this link: We also encourage companies to work with the Export Assistance Center (EAC) in their area, to obtain more information on best prospect markets for their products and on the basics of exporting. The EAC can coordinate with us and arrange conference calls in order for a US company to explain its objectives.

How long does it take to register medical devices?

Devices such as ECG, EEG, or any imaging devices are considered non-registrable but the distributor must obtain a Certificate of Exemption from the FDA in order to avoid delays at the Philippine Bureau of Customs.

U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information

Name: Dey Robles

Position: Commercial Specialist


Phone: (632) 301-2260

Best Prospects (from CCG 2017 report)

Healthcare is a best prospect industry sector for the Philippines as development in the market continues to present opportunities for U.S. manufacturers and distributors of high-value, low-volume products of the latest technology and highest quality (such as electro-medical devices, imaging equipment, radiation equipment, dialysis devices, and linear accelerators), where they excel in.

Market Size

Healthcare spending (including investment)


... as percent of GDP

4.7% of GDP

Hospitals, Procedures, Healthcare Professionals UN:

Number of hospitals

1,800 (2014 est.)




Private prepaid plans as a percentage of private expenditure on health



Number of hospital beds

100,000 beds (2014 est.)

... available beds per capita

1 bed/1,000 population (2011)


45,903 (2004); more recent data not available for the Philippines



102.6 million (July 2016 est.)

Life expectancy men/women

men: 65.7 years

women: 72.9 years (2016 est.)

Infant mortality

21.9 deaths/1,000 live births

Percent of population older than 65

4.38% (male 1,863,339/female 2,628,315) (2016 est.)

Death rate

6.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Leading causes of mortality in the Philippines

The leading causes of death are diseases of the heart, diseases of the vascular system, pneumonias, malignant neoplasms/cancers, all forms of tuberculosis, accidents, COPD and allied conditions, diabetes mellitus, nephritis/nephritic syndrome and other diseases of respiratory system.  Among these diseases, six are non-communicable and four are the major NCDs such as CVD, cancers, COPD and diabetes mellitus.

  Notice to Visitors!

  The link you have chosen will take you to a non-U.S. Government website.

  If the page does not appear in 5 seconds, please click this: outside web site is managed by the International Trade Administration and external links are covered by its website  disclaimer statement.

  Notice to Visitors!

  The link you have chosen will take you to a non-U.S. Government website.

  If the page does not appear in 5 seconds, please click this: outside web site is managed by the International Trade Administration and external links are covered by its website disclaimer statement.