Burma - Country Commercial Guide
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Burma’s healthcare system has deteriorated and faced several political and administrative changes since February 2021. On August 1, 2021, the military regime’s SAC reconstituted the regime’s Ministry of Health and Sports as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs. The MOH oversees the healthcare sector through six departments, including the Department of Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Human Resources for Health, the Department of Medical Research, the Department of Medical Services, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Traditional Medicine. International Non-Governmental Organizations and local Non-Governmental Organizations such as the Myanmar Red Cross Society, the Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association, civil society organizations and community-based organizations, including ethnic health organizations, also deliver public healthcare services.   

People living in remote areas, who account for approximately 70 percent of Burma’s total population, often lack adequate health knowledge, access to providers, and a reliable electricity supply, which is essential for the operation of medical equipment and storage of vaccines and medicines. The primary treatment options for people living in remote areas are rural health centers, sub-rural health centers, and small private clinics. The quality of healthcare services in urban areas has also declined because of shortages of qualified medical staff, supply gaps caused by trade restrictions, and electricity outages. Wealthy populations often fly out of the country to seek higher-quality health care abroad. Thailand is the top destination, followed by India, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. For lower and middle-income consumers, medical treatment abroad remains out of reach. 

There are more than 250 private hospitals across the country. Private hospitals operate primarily in larger cities and provide selected services to rural areas. While public health expenditure ranks one of the lowest in the region, private healthcare expenditures are expected to increase in light of growing healthcare awareness and limited solutions available in the public health care sector.

To protest the February 2021 coup, thousands of doctors and healthcare providers joined the civil disobedience movement and went on strike, stopping services throughout much of the healthcare system. The regime’s MOH prohibited healthcare professionals who joined the civil disobedience movement from returning to work in the healthcare industry, leading to extensive reductions in healthcare services in both the public and private sectors. 

Leading Sub-Sectors 

Medical Services 

The Burmese healthcare industry is facing a significant shortage of facilities, technology, medical services, qualified nurses, and healthcare professionals. People who can afford high-quality medical services travel to neighboring countries for medical check-ups and treatment, a market estimated at over $600 million per year, demonstrating the country’s tremendous need for reliable and high-quality medical services. Training and capacity-building services for medical staff are in great demand, creating commercial opportunities for U.S. health education providers. 

Medical Technology 

Burma lags in the medical technology area, from poor patient data records management to advanced diagnostic treatment methods. Despite many hurdles, Burma’s healthcare system has shown resilience by developing solutions such as telemedicine, mobile clinics, and online medical service platforms as alternate healthcare delivery pathways. However, limited internet connection coverage and unstable electricity supply hinder such services in remote areas. 

Medical Devices 

The country presents strong business opportunities for U.S. medical equipment and supplies. Burma’s private health sector depends on imported medical equipment and supplies to meet the increasing local demand for high-quality health services. 

Currently, the 1992 National Drug Law is the only legislation in effect and does not cover medical devices. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been drafting rules and regulations to regulate the use/production of medical devices in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development and other NGOs.   


Burma has a very competitive pharmaceutical market compared to other ASEAN countries. The market is attracting foreign pharmaceutical companies and is dominated by imports. Burma imports about 80 percent of its pharmaceutical products from other countries. Local supplies are mainly produced by the state-owned Myanmar Pharmaceutical Factory.   

There are more than 100 pharmaceutical distributors currently operating in Burma. In addition, there are many generic brands from India, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam with significant market shares. The market is very price-sensitive, and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) rules and enforcement remain a concern. Counterfeit products are prevalent, and stricter regulation and enforcement are needed to stop illegal sales. 

Opportunities and Challenges 

Given overall needs throughout the healthcare sector, Burma offers significant export opportunities for U.S. firms, especially in medical services, technical expertise, and medical devices, such as diagnostic activities in hospitals and clinics, pharmaceutical production, healthcare infrastructure, and the establishment of private medical institutes and training facilities. There are opportunities for U.S. manufacturers that supply medicine, medical devices, and related products and accessories. U.S. firms should consult with the Commercial Service team for detailed information. 

The most significant challenges in Burma’s healthcare sector are weak enforcement of rules and regulations, poor public health insurance coverage, and a shortage of healthcare providers and supplies. Many healthcare product importers have faced obstacles regarding the importation and registration process. The regime’s Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Health released new regulations, including Import Health Certificate (IHC) requirements for every shipment, including detailed chemical and microbiological testing recommended by The Food and Drug Administration, in addition to the Drug Registration Certificate (DRC) and Drug Importation Approval Certificate (DIAC) requirements. The U.S. Commercial Service advises U.S. firms to check with local distributors/partners and reputable legal firms for detailed information. 


World Health Organization (WHO) 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

Contact Information 
U.S. Commercial Service 
U.S. Embassy, Burma 
Email: office.burma@trade.gov