HealthInvestor Asia Summit 2018
Financial intelligence for Asia's healthcare markets
Remember me:

Analysis: Opportunities in the Philippines

In the third part of his series about operating healthcare companies across the APAC region, Marcus Pitt, managing partner of Fortuna Corpus Asia, focuses on the opportunities in the Philippines.

The hospital segment remains highly fragmented in the Philippines. One of the larger operators/ owners, Metro Pacific Investments (MPI) has been taking advantage of the current state of the market and has acquired more than 15 hospitals with a capacity of upwards of 3,000 beds. It has been reported since January last year that the company is considering an up to US$300 million IPO in the next couple of years, certainly CLSA and UBS have been mandated.

The Medical City is the main competitor of MPI, present both in inpatient and outpatient care segments through hospitals and clinics. One of the only operators to explore opportunities outside of the market, it has recently embarked on a partnership-investment in the Middle East with Kuwait based Sama Medical Services.

Other groups now entering the sector include Villar Property, which this year announced it will create a chain of clinics as a service offering with each of its residential offerings. Foreign firms have also been eyeing opportunities, for example, Spanish multinational Sanitas International, which has health centres and insurance operations, has earmarked several projects in the Philippines.

In the pharmaceutical sector – similar to markets such as Indonesia and Thailand – the Philippines enjoys high growth of around 12-14% a year, largely driven by growing middle class, increased spend in health and government policy.

It is generics that dominate the market, indeed they represent almost two-thirds of all drug products sold in the country. In recent years, the government introduced an essential drug list which lowed the price of generics and core OTC products dramatically. In addition, the government has also backed local production and attracted imports from markets such as India and Pakistan where production costs are comparatively lower.

The top ranking MNC manufacturers include Sanofi, Pfizer, Astra Z, GSK, MSD – for domestic companies, United Laboratories continues to lead the domestic market and has a significant regional presence. It is closely followed by Pascual Laboratories, GC International and Natrafarm.

In terms of supply chain, retailers have the largest share with an estimated 80%, hospitals at 10% and the remaining is made up of clinics, NGOs and government agencies. For some time now, Mercury Drugs has held a significant market share of the retail pharma space. Some say it controls more than 45% with steady competition coming from the Robinson Group, which acquired The Generics Pharmacy (TPG) in 2016. Together with Generika (which opened a further 150 stores last year) both make up a third of the market with the remaining coming from chains such as Watsons and other independent drug stores.

In addition to traditional retail models, Ayala Group (parent of Generika) – has recently invested in several online businesses. Earlier this year it took an undisclosed minority stake in Wellbridge Health, a start-up that owns online pharmacy MedGrocer. This follows the launch of FamilyDoc, a chain of clinics offering primary care services. Through this operation, a patient can see a FamilyDoc HCM, get laboratory tests and receive generic drugs all in the same clinic.

Retail groups are also cashing in on the growth of generics – creating house brands that compete on price and have the added vantage of offering their substitutes at point of sale. They compete on price with un-branded generics and although are currently a small segment, they are expected to growth significantly because of the priority pharmacy chains are giving on this segment – it is expected that growth and market share will outperform both un-branded and branded generics in the next few years.

Marcus Pitt is a board member, advisor and consultant for the healthcare and life-sciences industries across southeast Asia. He can be reached via email:

Posted on: 27/11/2017 UTC+08:00


Life sciences company OncoSil Medical is to raise A$18.7 million (US$14.4 million) in a two tranche institutional placement and share purchase plan.
Hong Kong listed hospital services company Hua Xia Healthcare has raised HK$46 million (US$5.9 million) in a private placement. Kingston Securities managed the deal.
AK Medical Holdings, which is the largest artificial orthopaedic joint manufacturer in China, has reported a 36.3% rise in profits for the year to Rmb105.4 million (US$16.7 million) on revenues that rose 37.6% to Rmb372.7 million.
Singapore-based DocDoc, a service which enables both locals and medical tourists to find a doctor or dentist across the region, has raised US$5.45 million in Series B funding. The financing is led by Adamas Finance Asia Limited (Adam), a London listed investment company which invested US$2 million via a convertible bond offering alongside regional family offices and high net worth individuals.
The owners of Australian health imaging company Pro Medicus have sold down significant stakes in the company.
IHH Healthcare, Asia’s largest healthcare company, has acquired a 60% stake in Chengdu Shenton Health Clinic, formerly known as Sincere Chengdu Clinic, from Beijing Yizhi Zhuoxin Corporate Management Information for Rmb12 million (US$1.9 million).
Japanese home care nursing group Longlife Holdings plans to set up a fee-based nursing home in Ikeda-shi, Osaka.
Sisram Medical, a Israeli subsidiary of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical, and which manufactures medical aesthetics devices, has reported an 37.2% rise in annual profits to US$11 million on revenues that were up 15.9% to US$136.9 million.


Sumit Sharma, head of health & life sciences, Asia Pacific, at Oliver Wyman, and Matt Zafra, engagement manager, health & life sciences, Oliver Wyman, look at the four themes that are going to dominate healthcare this year.
It can sometimes seem that the healthcare sector is a guaranteed money spinner for investors. It has everything going for it. Societal demands and demographics make it a sure thing, say enthusiasts. And investors have become used to the fact that everything it touches turns to gold.
Yesterday’s stock price fall for Ramsay Health Care was not entirely unexpected. Shares in Australia’s largest private hospital operator dropped 5.75% to A$63.90 (US$49.81) after it revealed distinctly unimpressive first half figures.
Susann Roth, senior social development specialist, Asian Development Bank, gives one way how health risks can be lowered at Special Economic Zones.
Nicole Hill, global director of healthcare at ALE, has a goal to make everyone and everything in healthcare connected. She explains how healthcare is entering a second wave of digitisation in Asia.
There is a simple reason why healthcare stocks on the SGX rose today. Yesterday’s budget was focused firmly on healthcare. Finance minister Heng Swee Keat announced not just an additional S$10.2 billion (US$7.8 million) for healthcare over the next year, he made clear that he was committed to the sector.
A new paper from KPMG looks at the disconnect between consumer expectations and the current healthcare experience of patients in Australia.
Gan Kim Yong, Singapore’s minister for health, explains why integrated care is important in the context of an ageing population.
my images


Hedge Fund Focus

HealthInvestor Asia twitter feed
HIA Indices