Philippine importation of clinical laboratory products grew by more than $9 million or by 71% -- from $13.2 million in 2009 to $22.4 million in 2010. Industry attributed this growth to upgrades undertaken by private and government clinical laboratories, in order to address market demands. U.S. market share in 2010 was at 12%.
Equipment for clinical laboratory is almost 100% imported. Chromatographs, microscopes, and other chemical analyzers are used widely in labs for diagnostic tests. Clinical instruments from the U.S. enjoy an excellent reputation for durability, quality, and technology. End-users base purchasing decisions on quality and price.
U.S. products compete against European brands, and in the case of Philippine imports, against their own brands shipped out of other Asian ports, mostly Singapore. Importers suggest price reductions and easier payment terms to offset generally costlier U.S. products.
The Philippines continues to upgrade its clinical laboratory facilities as demand for clinical diagnostic services grows. Overseas and local employments require biomedical laboratory testing, as do some university enrollees and nearly all new insurance policy holders.
Moreover, an increasing number of foreigners and returning Filipinos, particularly from the U.S., come to the Philippines not only as tourists who go sightseeing and shopping, but also as patients who want to receive affordable, quality medical, dental, and surgical services from hospitals and other health institutions overseas. These medical procedures almost always entail laboratory testing.
A growing number of Asian countries, including the Philippines, provide less costly medical treatments. Among the services that Philippine healthcare facilities offer to foreigners are executive health packages and elective procedures such as cosmetic surgery, liposuction, and dental surgery, and life-saving procedures such as coronary bypass surgery, kidney transplant, and cancer treatment. Such procedures require preliminary laboratory tests, which is why there is a need to keep laboratory equipment up-to-date and accurate.