Chile - Country Commercial Guide

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-01-25


Chile’s annual healthcare expenditure totals approximately 5 percent of GDP. Public healthcare expenses are expected to reach $13.5 billion by the end of 2021, an 8.9 percent increase from 2020.  Spending in secondary and tertiary health treatments is estimated to be $8.7 million in 2021. FONASA, the government-run healthcare insurance system, covers 77 percent of the population; of the remaining 23 percent, approximately 5 percent lack any type of insurance, 3 percent has insurance through Ministry of Defense (i.e., armed forces and police), and 16 percent (approximately 2.6 million people) pay into the private sector insurance system (ISAPREs), which is provided by entities that are equivalent to U.S. healthcare insurers. According to the OECD, Chilean was ranked 34 our 50 economies in per capita expenditure on health (including public, mandatory, and voluntary expenses) spending $2,232 per year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been the worst health crisis in Chile in the last 100 years placing an unprecedented strain on the country’s healthcare network. Since the first Covid-19 case was detected in Chile in March 2020, the Ministry of Health has instituted an emergency plan to create an integrated health network of emergence beds located in public hospitals and private clinics. The Government also coordinated with the Armed Forces an airlift to maximize the use of the hospital network, according to the requirements of the Ministry of Health. Another consequence of the health emergency was the increased use of public tenders for direct purchases in health, which almost doubled direct purchases from 2019.

Chile’s vaccination program began in February 2021 utilizing vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Sinovac. In addition to these vaccines, Chile has approved vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, AstraZenca, and CanSino. As of July 2021, 80 percent of eligible Chileans have completed their vaccine regimen. Healthcare infrastructure projects will continue to be a priority as the country focuses on post-pandemic priorities including providing care to the country’s aging population, coping with needs of patients with chronic diseases, and preparing for potential future pandemics.

The number of public and private healthcare centers in the country has reached 3,814 in the last 10 years including investments in hospitals and outpatient centers. Private healthcare centers make up 40 percent of available critical beds. There are two private healthcare centers in Chile with Joint Commission Accreditation: Clinica Alemana and Clinica Las Condes.

Healthcare agreements exist between several important U.S. medical centers and private Chilean hospitals. Massachusetts General Hospital has an agreement with Clínica Universidad de Los Andes. Numerous renowned U.S. healthcare centers are working with Clinica Alemana, including Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Hospital for Special Surgery, the Chest Disease Center-Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Clinica Alemana also has agreements with several hospitals in Germany, Belgium, Argentina, Italy, and Spain. Clinica Las Condes is associated with Johns Hopkins Medicine. These agreements cover diverse areas, including scientific research and exchanges, U.S. medical specialist evaluations/second opinions of Chilean patients, interaction with renowned U.S. experts, and opportunities to learn about U.S. healthcare models.

U.S. companies have invested heavily in the Chilean healthcare sector over the last seven years. In 2013, the U.S.-based Christus Health network invested in RedSalud network of Chile’s Catholic University. Walgreens Boots Alliance entered the Chilean market in 2014 through the purchase of Farmacias Ahumada. In 2017, Nexus acquired Masvida, one of Chile’s twelve ISAPREs. In 2018, United Health Group acquired the large private health insurance and medical provider Banmedica giving the company a presence in Chile, Peru, and Colombia.

In terms of regulation, pharmaceuticals are subject to mandatory registration at the Institute of Public Health (ISP, in Spanish). Currently, medical devices that require ISP authorization include contraceptives, gloves, needles, and syringes. However, the Chilean Congress is currently considering Ley de Farmacos 2, a new law that will impact the pharmaceutical and medical device industries in Chile.

The production of medical equipment in Chile is low. Internal production is limited and consists of disposable medical supplies while the demand for more technologically advanced medical equipment is met by imports. The market is dominated by subsidiaries of foreign companies and by Chilean companies that act as representatives of important international brands.

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2021 estimated

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Exchange Rates: 1 USD





(Total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)
Units: US$ Millions
Source: Thompson Reuters Checkpoint/Chilean Customs Data

Leading Sub-Sectors

· Telemedicine technology. Before Covid-19 only a 0.4 percent of the medical consultations was through telemedicine. In 2020, the use of telemedicine for doctor´s appointments increased 25 percent.

· Healthcare information management systems

· Digital medical record systems

· Remote monitoring systems for chronic diseases

· Medical devices, such as central monitors and essential emergency medical equipment.


Since taking office in March 2018, the Piñera Administration has identified the following healthcare priorities:

· Creating a unified national record of patients on waiting lists for government-funded treatment of certain diseases, GES

· Implementing a system for quality care of elderly citizens

· Improving management systems to foster capacities and efficiencies in hospitals and outpatient centers

· Strengthening and expanding the annual immunization program, Covid-19 inmunization vaccine

· Creating a network of high-quality family outpatient centers throughout the country

· Modernizing public hospitals with the construction of thirty new hospitals, thus creating 4,000 new beds over the next two to four years

· Modernizing management and introducing new technologies; reducing drug costs to foster competition and transparency; implementing an oral healthcare plan.

· Home hospitalization, oxygen therapy services and equipment to facilitate rehabilitation post Covid-19

Among the upcoming hospital tenders expected to be released in the second half of 2021 are the Neurosurgery National Institute in Santiago, Coquimbo Hospital, and private Hospital Clinico Universidad de Santiago. Tenders for these opportunities, as well as other public healthcare procurement, are listed on Chile’s public procurement website, MercadoPublico. Foreign companies may register on this site as foreign suppliers; however, as with other segments of the Chilean market, it is far more effective to appoint a local representative with experience in selling to the public sector. Local representatives generally have good contacts in the public and private sector and a network of salespeople throughout the country to provide after-sale service and support, which is highly valued in this market. However, selling to the public sector may be a challenge due to an increase in supplier complaints that payment terms during the pandemic.


· Expo Hospital (Hybrid VersionEspacio Riesco, Santiago, Chile

· Chilean Ministry of Health (MINSAL)

· Fonasa, National Health Fund (FONASA)

· Association of ISAPRES (ISAPRE)

· Chilean Health Superintendency

· Institute of Public Health

· Chilean Association of Medical Devices (ADIMECH)

· Department of Statistics and Health Information (DEIS)

· Association of Private Clinics

· Chilean Observatory of Public Health (OCHISAP)

For additional information, please contact CS Santiago Commercial Specialist Claudia Melkonian,