Commercial opportunities in Myanmar's healthcare sector are mainly derived from its large unmet medical needs and underinvestment. However, we maintain that significant improvements are required if Myanmar is to realise its ambitious public health insurance scheme. In addition, political uncertainties from the upcoming election in 2015 may also deter investors over the short term.
Decades of military control have meant that the majority of Myanmar's expenditure has gone into military/defence, with less spent on other sectors including health provision. As a result of low government health expenditure, healthcare access in the country is severely lacking. The country's decision to open up its economy in 2012 has attracted strong foreign interest, and saw the entry of a number of companies including Coca-Cola, British American Tobacco and Carlsberg. Pertaining to the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector, some companies that have expressed interest in the country and/or established operations in the country include: Stada, Sun Pharmaceutical, Parkway Hospital and Apollo Hospitals.
Low government health expenditure, coupled with continued unrest and tension in various parts of Myanmar (e.g. Rahkine state), mean that unequal access to healthcare services will continue across the country. In addition, given that most investment will be concentrated in major developed cities such as Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw, BMI believes that firms will opt to gain entry into these areas. Consequently, healthcare provision will improve in these regions rather than other rural locations, such as Chin state, Tanintharyi Region and Kayah State.