The island state's consistent investment in research and development, coupled with the government's increased commitment to healthcare, will provide pharmaceutical firms opportunities -especially in light of the ageing population. Nevertheless we highlight that Singapore's small population will continue to limit the pharmaceutical market's long-term growth potential.
Headline Expenditure Projections
- Pharmaceuticals: SGD940mn (US$770mn) in 2012 to SGD1.0bn (US$790mn) in 2013; +4.9% in local currency terms and +3.3% in US dollar terms. Forecast broadly in line with Q413.
- Healthcare: SGD16.2bn (US$13.2bn) in 2012 to SGD17.8bn (US$14.2bn) in 2013; +9.4% in local currency terms and +7.7% in US dollar terms. Forecast broadly in line with Q413.
Singapore's Pharmaceutical Risk/Reward Rating (RRR) score for Q114 is 62.1 out of the maximum 100 under our newly improved RRR system. The country scored above average for the majority of indicators and sub-indicators, including sector value growth, pensionable population and overall economic and political landscape. With the relatively high score, the country is ranked sixth out of the 19 key markets in the region, behind developed countries like Japan, South Korea and Australia, as well as emerging markets like China and Taiwan. In the South East Asia region, it continues to rank first due to its relatively higher score under country and industry risks.
Key Trends And Developments
- In October, two units under Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC; A*STAR's technology transfer arm) and Exploit Technologies signed a joint research collaboration agreement with AstraZeneca to develop drugs to treat gram-negative bacterial infections. This new deal aims to reverse the global rise of antibiotic resistance.
- In September 2013, Japanese pharmaceutical company Mitsubishi Tanabe announced plans to open a new office. The office will assume responsibility for the company's operations in Singapore, which were previously handled by Mitsubishi Tanabe's Indonesian office. The company's Indonesian office will focus its energies instead on acting as a manufacturing base for the company's wider operations in South East Asia.
- Proceeding with the promise to increase the government's commitment to healthcare, during his National Day Rally, in August 2013 Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced a range of healthcare initiatives to increase patients' access to healthcare and insurance coverage.
BMI Economic View: The Singaporean economy has shown some nascent signs of life lately, with a strong services sector powering real GDP growth to a surprise 5.1% year-on-year performance in Q313. As a result of the economy's better-than-expected performance, as well as material revisions to H113 figures, we have upgraded our full-year real GDP 2013 forecast to 3.6% from 3.1% previously. That said, we believe that a somewhat middling external demand picture will likely effect a modest slowdown from the current pace of growth in 2014, and therefore retain our 3.2% forecast for next year.
BMI Political View: Singapore faces very limited political risks in the near term, and we expect the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) to retain its monopoly on power through the next two election cycles at a minimum. However, over the longer term, the city state will come under greater pressure from its citizens to become a more vibrant democracy and foster credible opposition parties, and PAP policy will likely shift towards slightly more populist measures as its popularity begins to erode.