Malaysia listed as ‘One to Watch’ in US Market report

Research and Markets: In 2009 The Pharmaceutical Research And
Manufacturers Of America (PhRMA) Once Again Listed Malaysia As One Of
The ‘Watch List’ Countries

DUBLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Research and Markets(
has announced the addition of the “Malaysia
Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Report Q3 2009
” report to their

Business Monitor International’s Malaysia Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare
Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate
analysts, pharmaceutical associations, government departments and
regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive
intelligence on Malaysia’s pharmaceuticals and healthcare industry

In BMI’s Business Environment Ranking matrix for Q309, Malaysia remains
ranked eighth out of the 15 regional markets surveyed in the Asia
Pacific region, sandwiched between the more developed market of Taiwan
and the considerably more populous India. The key attractions of the
Malaysian pharmaceutical market are the government’s encouragement of
the biotechnology sector and the forecast steady annual growth in the
country’s pharmaceutical market. Between 2008 and 2013, the Malaysian
drug market is expected to grow from MYR4.12bn (US$1.22bn) in 2008 to
over MYR6.12bn (US$2bn) at consumer prices in 2013, posting a compound
annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.47% in US dollar terms (or 8.22% in
local currency terms, as the ringgit appreciates), Key drivers of growth
are medical tourism, the growing reputation of Malaysian
pharmaceuticals, the encouragement of the generics and specialist
segments and the rising demand for and supply of halal medicines. On the
other hand, per capita pharmaceutical consumption is quite low,
especially due to high out-of-pocket payment levels, which make the
market vulnerable to the current economic crisis.

Other outstanding issues hampering the faster development of more
expensive medicines segments in Malaysia include a number of
intellectual property (IP) regime deficiencies. In the 2009 versions of
its Special 301 submission, the Pharmaceutical Research and
Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) once again listed Malaysia as one of
the ‘Watch List’ countries. The association is mainly critical of the
following facts: the government runs a limited list of therapeutic areas
for which bioequivalence data are required; the lack of an adequate
patent linkage system; and the deficient protection and enforcement of
data exclusivity legislation. Therefore, the report forecasts that the
patented drugs market will develop at a slower pace than the generics
segment, which will additionally benefit from government encouragement
and the cost-containment pressures brought to the fore by the current
economic difficulties.

Generally speaking, however, local drugmakers are likely to weather the
storm better than their foreign counterparts. In March 2009, Chemical
Company of Malaysia (CCM) stated that it expected to outpace its
competitors in 2009, aiming to increase its leadership of the generic
segment from 21% to 23% over the next twelve months. This programme will
be supported by the recently inaugurated US$2.8mn research and
development (R&D) centre in Malaysia. The Innovax site, which will be
the largest facility of its kind in the country, will serve to
facilitate launches of new generics on the market.

In the meantime, the authorities continue to implement measures
supporting the country’s nascent medical tourism industry. For example,
in April 2009, the Malaysian Health Minister invited registered foreign
professionals to Malaysia, allowing them to treat foreigners residing in
the country. According to recently published official figures, in 2007
the country received almost three times as many medical tourists as in
2003, although the current economic downturn is resulting in lower
demand for such services. In fact, the Association of Private Hospitals
of Malaysia (APHM) expects that the number of medical tourists in the
country will increase by only 15% year-on-year (y-o-y) in 2009, compared
with previous annual increases of between 20 and 25%.