BMI View: The pharmaceutical market in Singapore is small, but supported by an increasingly ageing population and the corresponding rise in the burden of diseases. The country will therefore remain moderately attractive to pharmaceutical firms. We highlight that the innovative nature of the biomedical sector will attract pharmaceutical firms to set up regional offices, research and development and manufacturing bases and use it as a base from which to market products to other Asian markets.
Headline Expenditure Projections
- Pharmaceuticals: SGD940mn (US$770mn) in 2012 to SGD1.0bn (US$820mn) in 2013; +7.3% in local currency terms and +7.6% in US dollar terms.
- Healthcare: SGD13.8bn (US$11.2bn) in 2012 to SGD14.8bn (US$12.1bn) in 2013; +7.4% in local currency terms and +7.8% in US dollar terms.
Singapore's Pharmaceutical Risk/Reward Rating (RRR) score for Q213 is unchanged from the previous quarter. This is the case for all other countries in BMI's proprietary system, which ranks pharmaceutical markets according to their attractiveness to multinational drugmakers. A minor re-weighting of one of the RRR components is being implemented to improve the tool, and the adjusted scores for all markets will be published in the Q313 updates of the Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare reports. Singapore has a RRR score of 61.9 out of 100, making it the fifth most attractive pharmaceutical market in Asia Pacific.
Key Trends And Developments
- In January 2013, Amgen announced it will spend US$200mn over the next few years building a new antibody manufacturing facility in Singapore.
- In December 2012, a survey by the Singaporean Ministry of Health found that nearly 80% of patients are satisfied overall with healthcare services offered by public hospitals. The surveyed patients stated that accident and emergency departments in several hospitals could perform better. The ministry reported that patients have also expressed dissatisfaction over waiting times and management of care, as well as the transfer of information between healthcare institutions.
- In November 2012, Genting Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Genting Berhad, invested US $31.5mn in Singapore-based TauRx Pharmaceuticals as the first tranche of a total US$111.8mn investment. The remaining US$80.3mn investment from Genting is expected to be received by TauRx by the end 2012. Genting will gain a 20% equity stake in TauRx in return for its investment. The investment will support TauRx's development of dementia treatments based on a Tau-based approach to diseasemodifying and preventive treatment of Alzheimer's and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
BMI Economic View: The Singaporean government is set to release its FY2013/2014 budget on the heels of a key by-election defeat for the country's ruling party, as well as in the shadow of a controversial white paper setting out the city-state's population plan through 2030. While the timing of the budget will be awkward, we nonetheless expect it to constitute only a continuation of the government's long-term plan to provide more funding for the elderly and promote the creation of families. At the same time, we note that the budget may also lay out additional restrictions to the hiring of foreign workers (especially at the midskilled level), although we do not expect the introduction of aggressive tightening measures.
BMI Political View: Despite the fact that Singapore's January 26 by-election involved only 31,649 registered voters, the massive vote swing from less than two years ago (+13.5% for the Worker's Party (WP) and -10.8% for the People's Action Party (PAP)), is cause for substantial concern for the ruling PAP. Taken as a referendum of the PAP's attempts to adjust to voter sentiment following its relatively weak performance in the 2011 general elections, the by-election result indicates that much of the public has yet to warm to the PAP's policy shift. It suggests that the party may become slightly more aggressive before the 2016 general elections in order to shore up its flagging support base.