Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for medical tourism, with over 1,000 public hospitals and 300 private hospitals operating at international standards.
Healthcare sector in Thailand
Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for medical tourism, with over 1,000 public
hospitals and 300 private hospitals operating at international standards. The country offers a
world-class medical infrastructure and the highest possible quality of care at a fraction of the cost
of similar procedures in developed countries. Thailand expects to treat nearly 2 million foreign
patients each year, providing a range of healthcare services including sophisticated procedures
like stem cell treatment.
There are approx 1,152 health facilities with 101,589 hospital beds available in Thailand while
35% of the facilities are private hospitals. Due to the increasing demand from local and foreign
patients, healthcare facilities have been expanded with current infrastructure investments
focusing on maintaining international standards and introducing cutting edge treatments. This
has resulted in increasing demand for medical devices and pharmaceutical products.
Thailand has a substantial number of medical device manufacturers; however, their operations
mostly focus on a small number of product categories. Therefore, two-third of medical devices in
Thailand are imported, with US products accounting for 29% of inbound shipments.
? Specialist Treatment/Technology: The demand for specialised treatment in Thailand has
increased not only due to the number of foreign patients but also because of the health-
conscious consumers in Thailand. During the past few years, some public and private
hospitals have expanded their facilities in specific medical treatment i.e. heart hospital,
cancer hospital etc have been established.
? Ageing Population: According to a death certificates analysis, the major and rising causes
of death among Thai citizens are non-communicable diseases, accidents, and HIV/AIDS.
The impact of an ageing population opens up numerous opportunities. Obvious
opportunities are in the treatment of ageing type diseases and supplement type
medications. The Nursing homes concept may not be popular where families can afford to
look after their elderly members, which is common in Thai culture. Also, there are some
new housing developments with healthcare facilities available within the compound.
? Medical Equipment & Devices: Besides an increasing demand from local patients,
Thailand expects to receive 19 million tourist arrivals in 2011. Approximately 10% of
tourists are foreign patients having treatment in private hospitals. The popular medical
procedures being requested by foreign patients include cosmetic/plastic surgeries, dental
procedures, medical check-up programmes, cardiac procedures, orthopaedic surgery, stem
cell therapy, and sex reassignment surgeries. Additionally, the Thai government continues
to promote the country as the medical hub of Asia. The strategy has generated more
attention from both private and public hospitals who continue to upgrade medical
machinery and devices, as well as develop international standards to provide better
services to foreign patients.
? Standards Certification: As the Thai government continues to promote the country as the
medical hub of Asia, private and public hospitals focus on improving their standard of
services as well as upgrading their facilities. One of the essential tools to attract foreign
patients is to obtain an internationally recognised hospital accreditation. As a result, Joint
Commission International (JCI) has benefited from large private hospital?s strategy of
improving their services to international standard. However, some private hospitals wish to
seek other options which allow more flexibility in the implementation process.
? Accident & Emergency: Emergency response treatment has increasingly become a
priority in Thailand since the Tsunami in 2004. Following the 2010 political unrest,
previous military operations and 2011 flooding, there are more opportunities arising in this
area including training, consultancy as well as demand for specialist equipment.
Latest export opportunities ? Healthcare & Medical
Latest export opportunities ? Thailand
Getting into the market
Although Thailand offers good business opportunities, this does not mean that Thailand is the
right market for every company. Initial research is crucial to assessing your prospects. Thais like
to build relationships with potential business partners, so it is not a market where you are likely
to send a few brochures and wait for the orders to roll in. But for those ready to do the initial
research and develop relationships with Thai companies, the opportunities are clearly there.
It is very important that British companies appear to have a local presence in Thailand, either
through local representatives, a representative office, or joint venture companies. Such a
presence shows that British companies are serious about the market and are willing to provide
local technical support to their partners and customers. The Thai market is still price-oriented.
Technical support is the second most important issue after pricing.
More about doing business in Thailand
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
? Nipapat Hamilton, British Embassy Bangkok. Tel: +66 (0)2 305 8358 or email:
? Nathatai Rojanamitr, British Embassy Bangkok. Tel: +66 (0) 2 305 8256 or email:
Contact your local international trade team
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Innovations in Healthcare Management and Informatics 2012
Date: 13-15 March 2012
Website address: http://www.healthcareinformaticsasia.com
Latest events ? Healthcare & Medical
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters