Cambodia - Q1 2013
The fact that Cambodia's neighbours Malaysia and Thailand have become established as more successful emerging markets over previous decades has stifled the development of foreign interest in Cambodia's pharmaceutical market and industry. Other obstacles have included corruption, poor infrastructure and the lack of funding for healthcare and medicines. In the coming decades, however, Cambodia's economic, political and demographic developments should combine to improve - to a degree - the operating environment for multinationals, none of which are present in the market through direct manufacturing facilities.
Theoretically, Cambodia already offers a relatively investment-friendly economy, with untapped opportunities in pharmaceutical manufacturing for export presently being explored by Indian companies. Given their expertise in the manufacture of generic medicines, Indian drugmakers should be well-placed to capitalise on steady levels of demand, especially as Chinese-sourced medicines are often sidelined due to concerns over their quality. However, generally speaking, corruption and poor infrastructure will continue to hamper FDI inflows, especially from developed markets.
Cambodia's pharmaceutical market was calculated to be worth KHR718bn (US$178mn) in 2011. In terms of market segmentation, the lack of official data and, more importantly, the absence of a clear distinction between prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines have made calculations all but impossible. However, BMI estimates that prescription drugs represent less than half the market in value terms, due to underdeveloped healthcare coverage and access to medicines and counterfeiting, as well as the fact that many patients seek to circumvent consultation costs by going straight to the pharmacy. The proportion of OTCs in the overall market would likely be even higher were it not for the presence of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as part of the country's healthcare provision.