Thai Government To Make Thailand The Medical Hub Of Asia

The Thai government is making Thailand the medical hub of Asia as it is confident that Thailand has outstanding fundamental structure in the medical field and the human resources are recognized to be of international standard. Thai medical services are renowned worldwide, resulting in a rapid growth in related industries such as spa, Thai massage, Thai herbs, serviced apartments and health tourism. According to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the Government has clearly set a policy, in which will to be implemented from 2012 to 2016, to turn Thailand into a medical hub in four major areas: medical treatment, health promotion, traditional Thai medicine and alternative medicine, and health products, especially Thai herbs. Also, Public Health Minister Wittaya Buranasiri expects that this policy will bring in 800 billion baht in earnings in the next five years. Since the beginning of 2012, about 2.5 million foreign tourists have visited Thailand for medical services, thus bringing in about 121.6 billion baht. Another objective is to encourage health establishments in Thailand to improve their services to higher standards.

At present, Thailand is home to 256 private hospitals all over the country and most of them have been internationally accredited as No. 1 in Asia, while 33 spas are classified as world class. These are key players in the health tourism industry who also give opportunities to related industries such as pharmaceutical businesses, medical tools, tourism, hotels and restaurants. The high demand also brings about greater job opportunities and employment rates in various fields. To strengthen Thailand's position as the medical hub of Asia, BOI (Board Of Of Investment, Thailand) has granted tax exemptions to health care providers such as rehabilitation centers, hospitals, health food producers and medical tool manufacturers. These industries are granted corporate income tax exemptions for three to eight years, and the BOI has also extended additional benefits to pharmaceutical businesses, as well as tariff reduction on imported medicine ingredients and medicine.

Medical Device Market In Thailand

Thailand have very strong importation and exportation so this is a great location for investors, whether they want to sell domestically or export throughout Asia and the world. Thailand’s imports and exports of medical equipment and supplies have been rising impressively ever since 2001.

Imports stood at US$220 million in 2002 and by 2008 they had reached US$589. The United States still accounts for the biggest share of the pie at 29%, followed by Japan, Germany and China. Exports of medical equipment and supplies totaled US$441 million in 2002 and hit US$973 million in 2008. Surgical gloves are the biggest category of exports, with US$346 million worth in 2008 or 36% of outbound shipments of consumables. America is also the top destination, taking in US$263 million worth of Thai medical exports in 2008. The European Union, Japan, Germany and the Netherlands are the other main markets.



The major categories of medical devices that are highly sought after in Thailand

Thailand lags behind in the production of high- tech medical devices. Nearly all of the highly sophisticated equipment used here is imported. Of the more than 300 manufacturers that have registered with the Thai FDA, the vast majority are making basic products such as bandages, sutures, syringes, blood transfusion sets, disposable gowns, examination gloves, condoms, HIV and AIDS kits, and wheelchairs. Thailand remains heavily dependent on imports of advanced products such as ocular prostheses, heart valves, electrocardiographs, ultrasound equipment, X-ray equipment, dental drill engines and artifcial teeth, among many others.

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