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Foreign pharmaceutical firms eye growing local market

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
Francis Hong (third from right), TMBIA chairman, during the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open Cambodia Phar-Med 2019. KT/Jose Rodriguez T. Senase

Many foreign pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment manufacturers across Asia have expressed interest in selling their products or expanding their presence in Cambodia.

These companies, who are here for the Cambodia Phar-Med 2019, have taken note of Cambodia’s economic growth and potential, and the growing demand for medical and pharmaceutical products among the country’s 16 million people.

The event – the largest gathering for the medical, dental, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic care industries in Cambodia – opened yesterday and will conclude today at The Great Duke Phnom Penh.

More than 30 companies engaged in the manufacture and sale of various medical equipment and products are participating in the two-day event. Another 14 companies selling beauty products also have booths there.

Nineteen of these companies come from China and Taiwan. The rest are from Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Turkey, Israel, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Korea, Singapore, and Cambodia.

In an interview, Francis Hong, chairman of the Taiwan Medical and Biotech Industry Association (TMBIA), said now is a good time to enter the Cambodian market because of the country’s growing economy. Mr Hong led a group of six Taiwanese medical companies that came to Cambodia for the event.

“I saw a lot of investment and market opportunities here,” he stressed.

Mr Hong’s observations were echoed by Karen Chang, sales manager for Doctor’s Friend Medical Co Ltd, and Wilson Chang, export sales manager for Taiwan Stanch, who said that Cambodia’s economic “miracle” is grabbing everyone’s attention.

“Everyone wants to come,” said Ms Chang, who added that they came to look for partners and distributors for their products, which are mainly suction units.

Ms Chang said the good reputation of Taiwanese products will help them succeed here. “Taiwanese products may be a bit costly, but the quality is very high,” she stressed.

Interest in the Cambodia market was not limited to Southeast Asian and East Asian countries. Medical and pharmaceutical companies from South Asia are also keen to take advantage of Cambodia’s market potential.

Moshiul Alam, business coordinator for Cambodia of Popular Pharmaceuticals Ltd, said their company is looking for more distributors in Cambodia. According to him, their products are being marketed in the Kingdom by two distributors: Sak-Cam Pharma Co Ltd and Farmed Healthcare Co Ltd.

“We want more of them as we see a big potential in Cambodia,” he stressed, noting that they will soon open a representative office in the country. Popular Pharmaceuticals is a well-known pharmaceutical company from Bangladesh whose products are sold in 26 countries.

As far as Pakistani company Almas Pharma is concerned, no one can deny the Kingdom’s potential.

“We see a growing market, not only for pharmaceutical products, but also for nutraceuticals,” said Naseer Ahmed, marketing director for Almas Pharma, referring to the herbal products that the company is also known for.

He said that they are now trying to establish contacts and looking for distributors. “If everything goes well, we might even invest here in the future,” he said.

With Cambodia’s economy growing, demand for medical and pharmaceutical products is on the rise. Demand is particularly high among the growing number of hospitals and the more than 1,000 health centres across the country.

Cambodia is projected to spend $437 million on medicines and other pharmaceutical products by 2021.

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