KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 (Bernama) -- Malaysia’s healthcare industry spending is expected to reach about RM80 billion by 2020, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
He said the industry spending, which recorded RM52 billion at end-2017, has increased, fuelled up by the demand for healthcare services and the emergence of new care models beyond traditional hospital settings.
"For example, wireless sensors are being used to capture and transmit patient vitals more frequently than staff can make bedside visits.
"These signals can provide real-time alerts, so caregivers can respond more promptly to unexpected changes," he said in his opening address at the 23rd Asian Harmonisation Working Party Annual Meeting and Malaysia Medical Device Expo 2018 (MYMEDEX 2018) here today.
The three-day MYMEDEX 2018 beginning today has 100 booths showcasing the latest innovative technologies and advances in global medical devices.
Dr Dzulkefly said this development presents both challenges and opportunities to the health industry.
Thus, he said, the government needs to have a strategy to ensure the availability of sustained financial and human resources for which there will always be competing demands.
"The present economic and financial climate poses severe challenges to the healthcare system and it is fortunate that there continues to be strong support from the government to meet health needs," he said.
Dr Dzulkefly said the medical device industry has emerged as an industry that is growing rapidly, and Malaysia has been known as the world’s leading manufacturer of rubber-based products such as medical gloves, condoms and catheters. Malaysia fulfils 80 per cent of the world’s demand for catheters and 60 per cent for rubber gloves.
He said Malaysian manufacturers also produced other medical devices including syringes, needles, procedure kits, surgical and dental instruments, and products made from plastics, silicone and metal alloys.
Dr Zulkefly said the medical device industry has shifted focus to the higher end of the product spectrum and diversified to more lucrative sub-sectors, which eventually lead to economic growth and increased employability opportunities.
“The industry consists of over 200 manufacturers with implemented investments of RM14.2 billion, making Malaysia an up-and-coming global medical device manufacturing hub,“ he said, adding that more than 30 multinational companies have made Malaysia their offshore manufacturing location.
He said that in 2017, the industry recorded total approved investments of RM2.2 billion across six new projects worth RM69.4 million, and 19 expansion/diversification projects worth RM2.1 billion compared to RM2.9 billion in investments across 41 approved projects in 2016.
Dr Dzulkefly said the Medical Device Authority (MDA) has issued more than 2,300 establishment licences, of which 340 are manufacturers, 1,500 are authorised representatives, and 600 are distributors and importers of medical devices.
"I am proud to announce that to date, since the implementation of the Medical Device Act in 2013, almost 580,000 medical devices have been registered with the MDA," he said.