The Medical Device Authority (MDA), a regulatory body created under Ministry of Health (MOH), ensures that medical devices produced in Malaysia are of world-class quality and recognised for their adherence to international standards, as well as global regulatory compliance systems. Over 90 per cent of medical devices manufactured in Malaysia are exported.
The industry comprises over 200 manufacturers with implemented investments of RM14.2 billion, making Malaysia an up-and-coming global medical device manufacturing hub. More than 30 MNCs have made Malaysia their offshore manufacturing location, such as Abbott, Agilent, B. Braun, C.R. Bard, Symmetry Medical, Teleflex, Resmed, Ciba Vision, Ambu, Toshiba Medical Systems, and Haemonetics. These MNCs have contributed to the development of a comprehensive local supply chain, benefitting many domestic players. Furthermore, over 50 companies are categorised as Local Large Companies (LLCs), such as Vigilenz, Straits Orthopaedics, Ideal Healthcare, Top Glove, Hartalega and Kossan Latex Industries.
The Malaysian medical device industry shows great promise in creating high-income jobs, generating greater export value, and reinforcing the domestic supply chain ecosystem. Proof of its potential comes from Association of Malaysian Medical Industries (AMMI)’s Medical Device Industry Outlook Report 2017, launched in August 2017. The report highlighted a remarkable value-added ratio of 57 per cent in the manufacturing of medical devices in Malaysia.
In 2017, the industry recorded total approved investments of RM2.2 billion across six new projects worth RM69.4 million, and 19 expansion/diversification projects worth RM2.1 billion. Compared to 2016’s figures of RM2.9 billion in investments across 41 approved projects, this is an indication that the medical devices industry is successfully attracting more strategic investments, with higher investments per project on average. Foreign investors demonstrated their confidence in the future of the industry by contributing RM1.6 billion (72.7%) worth of investments, while DDI brought in RM600 million (27.3%).
As the nation moves towards Industry 4.0, the accelerating pace of innovation in the medical devices industry is evidenced by local companies beginning to undertake R&D on incorporating robotics, automation, integrated processes, and IoT into their manufacturing processes. Industry players will continue innovating and revolutionising their product development, manufacturing processes, and business models.
With Malaysia’s strong ecosystems in the semi-conductor, M&E, E&E, metal stamping, and plastics industries, it is an ideal investment location for the procurement of parts and components when it comes to the manufacturing of medical devices.
An area that investors can look into is the production of components and parts related to medical imaging devices, including X-ray machines, computed tomography (CT) scanners, ultrasound and nuclear imaging systems and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems. According to MarketsAndMarkets (a research consulting firm based in the USA), the global diagnostic imaging market was valued at approximately US$23.5 billion in 2015, and is expected to grow to a size of around US$33.5 billion by 2021. Revenue-wise, Asia Pacific is a leading regional market, and will likely witness significant growth in the near future.