The Philippines Health Tech Market, which surged ahead with over 24.3% year-on-year growth in 2020, is poised to be a staggering PHP 55.0 Bn industry by 2025, as per findings released by Ken Research.
The Philippines Health Tech Market had a slow growth initially. The slow growth corresponded to poor internet penetration and a lack of technology awareness. Unorganized health tech infrastructure and a less tech-savvy population led to the accumulation of unharmonized healthcare data. The government faced a major difficulty when the healthcare challenges kept on increasing with the growing population. Increasing need and high government interest positively drove the Philippines’ health tech industry.
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1. Understanding the Health Insurance in the Philippines with Focus on Government Side
PhilHealth is the health insurance run by govt. and it extends to all citizens. It is a compulsory membership for employees in which half of monthly premium is contributed by employer and half by employee. Moreover, Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) which is a private providers of Healthcare Insurance, gives access to doctors within their network. Furthermore, Private Health Insurance offers a more comprehensive private healthcare network than HMO and is usually for a longer duration
2. Mercury Drug holds around ~60% of the E-Pharmacy market in the Philippines
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COVID 19 has accelerated and pushed the use of e-pharmacy platform in Philippines, as more and more people are now accustomed to the idea of using online services. Mercury Pharmacy has been operating offline since 1945. It started selling drugs online in year 2003. It is the leading player of the E-pharmacy market. It operates on Omni channel model through Gamot Padala using which customer can schedule pickup of medicine from store through phone or internet. Mercury Drug introduced its free Suki Card, a rewards system for its loyal customers that is fully transferable, without annual membership fees, enabling customers to earn points that can be used as rebates in their next purchases or to redeem exclusive Mercury Drug items.
3. Around 50% of the overall E-Pharmacy orders are placed from the Northern Region.
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The northern region is most populated and have most standalone or hospital-based pharmacies. Most E-Pharmacy work on the aggregator model therefore maximum operating models are designed in the capital city or near the city. Moreover, majority of the players import and distribute products or import drug and outsource production to local manufacturer are located in Northern region. This is driving the cost of medicines and therefore affect the delivery charges.
4. Government Regulation and Initiatives in Philippines which are helping the health tech market in Philippines to flourish.
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FDA issued regulation for implementation of E-Prescription on 17th March 2020. This regulation allowed a medical prescription captured as a photo, or created as a pdf, jpeg, or other photo file format, sent through email or messaging application to be deemed equivalent to a written prescription. Additionally, DOH in partnership with National Privacy Commission (NPC) launched telemedicine services due to Corona Outbreak for NCR region in April 2020 and plans to expand it to other regions. It also partnered with private entities such as KonsultaMD and Medifi. Moreover, DOH and NPC issued guidelines and defined regulations for telemedicine on 7th April 2020. It was aimed to connect hospitals across country using the networks established by DOST.
Factors such as cheap product variants, additional availability of doctors, shifting from traditional to online health services will drive the Philippines Health Tech market in the near future both in terms of revenue and sales volume. Apart from domestic players, numerous other international players might enter the market and will contribute towards the growth of the Philippines health tech industry in future.