According to the 2023 Legatum Prosperity Index, Singapore ranked 1st among 104 countries, in the “health component” category which measures the extent to which people are healthy and have access to the services needed to maintain good health. In the 2023 Global Hospital Rating conducted by Newsweek and Statista, the Singapore General Hospital was ranked ninth among the 250 hospitals rated. Singapore provides universal coverage for its citizens with multiple layers of care and among its ASEAN peers, it spends the most annually in healthcare on a per capita basis. This is expected to rise faster than GDP given the country’s aging population and changes in demographics.
According to the Ministry of Health, Singapore’s National Health expenditure could increase to $43 billion in 2030. Healthcare spending, comprising both public and private healthcare expenditure, is expected to account for 5.9% of GDP and could go up to 9.0% by that same time. This increase is largely attributed to rising government spending on healthcare, as well as the local population’s consumption of healthcare services, attributed largely to an aging population and a trend towards earlier diagnosis of chronic conditions, close monitoring, and follow-up.
Singapore serves as the healthcare and medical hub of the region. Each year, Singapore draws almost 500,000 patients with its high-quality healthcare. Prominent international healthcare and research organizations such as Duke University, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and JCI have established a presence here. The research institutes work with scientists here to accelerate drug discovery and develop therapies for unmet healthcare needs.
Singapore sets the bar for strong healthcare standards. The emphasis on quality care has enabled the country to achieve high life expectancies, fourth in the world, and the lowest infant mortality in the world. However, Singapore also has one of the fastest aging populations in Asia, which will translate to a greater demand for specialized elderly care amid rising costs.
In 2021, imports of medical equipment and supplies to Singapore decreased by 5.0% over the previous year. U.S. medical equipment and supplies accounted for 24% of market share. On average, more than 70% of products imported into Singapore are subsequently re-exported.
The outlook for 2023 will likely see an increase in imports and local production. This is due to the strengthening of the global economy, stabilization of supply chains, and a steady return to normalcy. Based on available data, the market for medical devices is anticipated to grow this year and imports are expected to increase by approximately 7.0%.
Medical devices are regulated under the Health Products Act and Health Products (Medical Devices) regulations. Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA) oversees the system of statutory control designed to safeguard the quality, safety, and efficacy of medical devices available in Singapore. Almost all medical devices are regulated. Class A medical devices supplied in a non-sterile state are exempted, however, Class A sterile, Class B, C, and D medical devices are subject to product registration requirements. Classification rules are adopted from the guidance developed by the Global Harmonization Task Force (GHTF).
The Ministry of Health currently licenses direct doctor and dentist-led teleconsultations under the Healthcare Services Act. The broadened scope of this new Act will include healthcare services, allied health and nursing services, traditional medicine, and complementary and alternative medicine.
|Total Local Production
|Imports from the US
|Total Market Size
Units: $ millions
Source: IHS Markit
Healthcare demand and spending will increase due to an aging population, heavier chronic disease burdens, advances in technology, and a more well-informed and perceptive population. Combined with medical facility constraints, Singapore will likely see a rebalance of its healthcare system towards more home-based care. There will be opportunities to introduce telecare initiatives as the healthcare system gradually evolves towards being less hospital-centric and pivots towards more outpatient care. With the advent of telecare, remote patient monitoring will be of strategic importance to pharmaceutical companies as medical professionals will be better positioned to monitor patients’ adherence to treatment, and as more patients are affected by multiple chronic conditions that require multiple pharmaceutical products.
The Health Ministry’s mandate is to deliver affordable healthcare, ensure good medical outcomes, reduce illness, promote good health, and ensure that the country is resilient against communicable disease threats and civil emergencies. For the long term, the Singapore government remains committed to ensuring that the national healthcare system keeps pace with global medical advancements. To keep up with advances in biomedical science and encourage the development of new clinical treatments for Singaporeans, the Ministry of Health, in partnership with A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology, and Research) and several other governmental bodies, has invested in clinical and translational research. The aim is to augment Singapore’s medical capabilities in the public healthcare system and position Singapore as the premier regional medical services hub.
U.S. exporters that provide cutting-edge technology, laboratory and testing equipment, and services for the healthcare and research communities will find Singapore a lucrative market.
The elderly (defined as those over 65 years) in Singapore currently represent 10.7% of the total population, which is the highest among all the other ASEAN countries. Within the next 20 years, Singapore will experience what is known as ‘hyper-aging.’ Over a quarter of the population will be 65 years and older by 2030. As such, more facilities for the elderly, such as nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, need to be built. The demand for services such as geriatric medicine, home-based patient monitoring, memory care, and rehabilitation medicine is expected to rise. U.S. firms specializing in elder-care products and services will find a robust and growing market in Singapore.
The national healthcare expenditure has recorded increases every year, and the demand for healthcare has grown substantially due to population growth and aging. The Singapore National Health Expenditure could increase to S$59 billion in 2030. A $5.6 billion budget has been allocated to address infrastructure concerns in the short and long term, as well as to support healthcare provisions and subsidies for the poor. The three key areas of focus are healthcare infrastructure, healthcare delivery, and managing the associated costs and issues related to an aging population. This budget also includes larger subsidies for surgical implants, the treatment and management of chronic diseases, and funding programs to promote healthy lifestyles and active aging programs. The Ministry of Health is planning a major revamp of the public sector subsidy structure aimed to better target resources amid an aging population and those with greater need.
Opportunities exist for Health IT solutions that focus on telemedicine, telecare, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and the protection of data contained in electronic health records and data sharing. Others include personal health management, health screening, disease management, preventive care products, access to homecare resources, and advanced technologies that would enable seamless integrated healthcare.
The Health Ministry has dedicated $1.38 billion for the continued development of the Woodlands Health Campus, Singapore General Hospital’s Emergency Medicine Building and Elective Center, as well as IT infrastructure for new healthcare facilities and other major IT projects. This will be carried out between now and 2036 and will strengthen the continuum of care for sub-acute care as well as palliative care. More polyclinics will be built, bringing the total to 32 by 2030. Other infrastructure projects include the redevelopment of Alexandra Hospital, ready by 2030, a new integrated acute and community hospital in the east, National Cancer Centre, the existing Tan Tock Seng Hospital Integrated Care Hub as well as at least eight more nursing homes with more than 1070 beds added. Plans are to double the number of beds to more than 31,000 over the next decade.
Government hospitals account for 80% of all hospital beds in Singapore while the private sector accounts for 20%. Demand for medical equipment comes from public and private hospitals and clinics. The Health Ministry is the largest consumer, accounting for nearly 75% of local demand. Parkway Hospitals Singapore, the largest private-sector healthcare provider in Singapore, is also a significant buyer of medical equipment. More than 80% of local demand is met through imports, and there is a premium placed on American-made products. U.S. manufacturers with innovative products will find Singapore a good marketplace.
April 19-21, 2024
September 11-13, 2024
Singapore Government Offices
Synapxe (previously Integrated Health Information System)
U.S. Commercial Service, Singapore Contact
Ms. Luanne Theseira, Commercial Specialist