Chile - Country Commercial Guide

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

Last published date: 2021-01-16


Chile’s annual healthcare expenditure is approximately 5 percent of GDP. Public healthcare expenses are expected to reach $13 billion by the end of 2020. FONASA, the government-run healthcare insurance system, covers 77 percent of the population. Of the remaining 23 percent that are not covered by FONASA, 16 percent (approximately 2.6 million people) pay into the private sector insurance system, which is provided by entities that are equivalent in the U.S. to health insurance companies called ISAPREs. Three percent receive coverage through the Ministry of Defense, as part of the armed forces and police. Approximately 5 percent of population lacks any type of insurance.

The number of healthcare centers -public and private- in the country has reached 3,814 in the last 10 years including investments in hospitals and outpatient centers. Healthcare infrastructure projects are a priority for Chile, due to the country’s aging population and the increase in the number of patients with chronic diseases.

U.S. companies have invested heavily in the Chilean healthcare sector over the last five years. In 2013, the U.S.-based Christus Health network invested in RedSalud network of Chile’s Catholic University. In 2014, Walgreens Boots Alliance purchased Farmacias Ahumada, one of Chile’s top pharmacy chains. 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, which operates in Chile, Peru, and Colombia.

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,

There are two private healthcare centers in Chile with Joint Commission Accreditation: Clinica Alemana and Clinica Las Condes.

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 a law that may impact the pharmaceutical and medical device industries in Chile, known as Ley de Farmacos II.





2020 estimated

Total Local Production





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the US





Total Market Size





Exchange Rates: 1 USD





total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports
Units: $ millions
Source: Chilean Customs Data and ADIMECH

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the worst health crisis in Chile in the last 100 years. The Chilean government’s 2021 budget is still being negotiated; however, the government has already announced their intention to dedicate around $1 million for testing and $200 million for vaccines. The pandemic has also led to a rapid increase in the utilization of telemedicine from less than 1 percent pre-pandemic to an estimated 25 percent in 2020. In addition, many patients have delayed routine medical care, which healthcare officials expect to cause an increase in demand for health services in the second half of 2020 and 2021.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Best prospect sub-sectors include:

  • Telemedicine technology
  • 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.
  • 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, including a 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 7,000 new beds over the next six to eight years.
  • Modernizing management and introducing new technologies, reducing drug costs to foster competition and transparency, implementing an oral healthcare plan, among others.

Another consequence of the health emergency was the move to utilize direct purchases, which have almost doubled since 2019, instead of public tenders in health. Nevertheless, the majority of public sector opportunties are published as tenders at the government procurement website. 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 sales people throughout the country to provide after-sale service and support, which is highly valued in this market.

Expo Hospital

September 7-9, 2021

Santiago, Chile

Web Resources

Chilean Ministry of Health

Fonasa, National Health Fund

Association of ISAPREs

Chilean Health Superintendency

Institute of Public Health

Chilean Association of Medical Devices (ADIMECH)

Department of Statistics and Health Information (DEIS)

Association of Private Clinics


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