BMI View: Cambodia will continue to underperform other pharmaceutical markets in the Asia Pacific region, given its low health and pharmaceutical expenditure as well as the rampant corruption in the country. We highlight that, given such a profile, the country will present more commercial benefits to companies dealing with inexpensive generic drugs and over the counter products than innovative pharmaceuticals.
Headline Expenditure Projections
- Pharmaceuticals: KHR721.1bn (US$170mn) in 2012 to KHR788.8bn (US$200mn) in 2013; +9.4% in local currency terms and +10.0% in US dollar terms. Forecast broadly in line with Q413.
- Healthcare: KHR3,168.4bn (US$780mn) in 2012 to KHR3,382.1bn (US$84mn) in 2013; +6.7% in local currency terms and +7.4% in US dollar terms. Forecast broadly in line with Q413.
Risk/Reward Rating: Cambodia's Pharmaceutical Risk/Reward Rating (RRR) score for Q114 is 32.4 out of the maximum 100 in our newly improved RRR system. The country scored below average for almost all indicators and sub-indicators including overall market expenditure, sector value growth and pensionable population. Consequently with this low score, Cambodia ranks second-to-last out of the 19 key markets in Asia Pacific, ahead of Myanmar.
Key Trends And Developments
- In December 2013, Cambodia Daily reported that the Japanese government will open an internationalstandard hospital in Phnom Penh. The construction of the medical facility, which will include state-ofthe- art medical technology and highly skilled doctors, nurses and surgeons, is contingent on the approval of a Japanese plan by the Cambodian government. The project was announced by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on his visit to Cambodia in November. The new critical-care centre will be the first of its kind in Cambodia and is scheduled to become operational in 2015. The medical facility will be part of the Kitahara International Hospital group that is widely known for its neurosurgical treatment. The location of the hospital is yet to be decided and is expected to be funded primarily by private investors.
- In November 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) requested the Global Fund to allocate US $15mn of the total US$100mn grant to stop the spread of resistance to Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs) currently used to fight malaria in Cambodia. The Global Fund's US$100mn was allocated as an emergency response to combat resistance to malaria. According to Eva Christophel, the WHO's regional malaria adviser in Manila, the US$15mn requested for Cambodia would partly be used to move the WHO's regional office for fighting ACT resistance from Bangkok to Phnom Penh.
- In October 2013, Cambodia's health ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the largest immunisation programme in the country to date with the introduction of a new vaccine against rubella and measles, the WHO reports. The health ministry has included the new vaccine on the national immunisation schedule, and will administer it to more than 4mn children aged between nine months and 15 years by December 31 2013. Although there is a lot of rubella transmission in Cambodia, this is the first vaccine against the disease in the country, according to the WHO's Technical Officer Richard Duncan. The campaign will be rolled out in three phases.
BMI Economic View: Foreign direct investment into Cambodia came in at US$2.3bn in H113, marking a 200% y-o-y surge, and taking the total stock of FDI to roughly 135% of GDP. As the government continues to embark on liberalisation efforts, we believe that foreign investment will continue to head into the country, particularly in low-end manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism.
BMI Political View: The issue of land rights in Cambodia remains very divisive and continues to aggravate relations between the government and local residents. Recent promises by local officials in Phnom Penh to issue land titles to residents in disputed cases suggest that the government may be adopting a softer tone on the issue. Any material change in government posture could have wide-ranging implications for the country's business environment.