Thailand - Country Commercial Guide
Medical Equipment

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

Last published date: 2019-10-13

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

Overview> Thailand’s healthcare expenditure was 4.3% of GDP in 2018.  The Thai government allocated 15% of its total budget on public health services.  Thailand’s medical devices market is expected to grow 8-10% per year due to several factors.  First, there is an increasing number of patients with heart diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes because of the aging population.  Second, there is an increasing number of foreign patients who are both medical tourists and expatriates.  Third, hospital groups have built new facilities and new players have entered into the market.  Thailand ranked as the world’s 17th largest exporter of medical devices (mostly single-use devices) and the world’s 32nd ranked importer of medical devices.

Medical tourists coming to Thailand accounted for 38% of such visitors to Asia, and the country’s medical tourism is growing over 10% each year.  Foreigners contributed 30% of private hospitals’ revenues in 2017.  According to the Kasikorn Research Center, in 2017 foreign patients made 3.3 million visits to Thai hospitals, with 2.4 million for medical tourism and 900,000 by expatriates. 

Patients from Japan, China and Myanmar are on the rise, while arrivals from the Middle East are decreasing.  Private hospitals are equipped with the latest medical facilities and patients do not have to wait to obtain treatment.  Doctors in the country are very well trained in the latest treatments and procedures, and hospitals are outfitted with the most cutting-edge medical technology.  Additionally, doctors and other staff in the hospitals have fluent language skills, so patients have little to no communication issues.  As of May 2019, Thailand has 66 hospitals and healthcare institutions certified by the Joint Commission International (JCI).  Healthcare in Singapore costs three times and Malaysia costs two times more than Thailand.  Medical services in Thailand saves a patient 50% to 75% on medical expenses they would have incurred for similar services in the United States.  The average cost of an MRI scan in the United States is $2,611.  In Thailand, the same scan costs about $190.  The average cost of Lasik vision surgery in the United States is about $2,250, while the same procedure can cost nearly half of that in Thailand.  For more serious procedures like a heart-valve replacement or bypass surgery, major savings can be realized.  While this type of procedure might cost $75,000 in the United States, it is likely to cost only a third of that in Thailand.  Hip replacement in the United States can cost over $33,000. In Thailand the same procedure may cost only $13,000.  Knee replacement surgery in the United States can cost $30,000, but only $11,500 in Thailand.

Thailand’s medical device market was estimated at $2.7 billion in 2018.  Imports of medical devices were approximate $2.1 billion; medical devices from the United States were valued at $441.2 million (20.5% of imported products), followed by China (13.2%), Germany (9.8%), Japan (8.8%), and Ireland (6.1%).  Local manufacturers of medical devices make mostly single-use devices, such as disposable test kits and syringes, surgical gloves and catheters.  Over 80% of domestic production is exported.


  2017 2018 2019(Estimated) 2020 (Estimated)
Total Local Production 3,808.6 4,013 4,334 4,681
Total Exports 3,305.7 3,476.3 3,754 4,055
Total Imports 1,052 931 1,024 1,126
Imports from the US
255 214.1 235.5 259
Total Market Size 1,259 1,200 1,320 1,452
Exchange Rates 31 31 31 31

Total Market Size = (total local production + imports) - exports in thousands of U.S. dollars.
  Leading Sub Sectors>

  • Cardiovascular devices

  • Clinical diagnostic devices

  • Dental devices

  • Dermatological devices

  • Electro-diagnostic devices

  • Neurological & surgical devices

  • Ophthalmic devices and instruments

  • Orthopedic and fracture devices

  • Rehabilitation equipment

  • Therapeutic respiration devices

  • Ultrasound and x-ray devices

Opportunities> The market growth in the next few years will be driven by expansion of hospitals and also new players entering the market.  Existing hospitals are expanding networks and facilities to meet growing demand.  Bangkok Dusit Medical Center Plc (BDMS), the largest private hospital group in Thailand, is building Bangkok Hospital Chiangrai, and has a green-field hospital project in Jomtien, Chonburi province, targeting residents in the eastern region.  The Thonburi Hospital Group will build a medical center to provide a range of medical treatments at international standards.  Vibhavadi Hospital plans to open five hospitals over the next five years and plans to spend more than $26 million in the five projects. 

New players are making their way into the segment.  CP Medical Center Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Charoen Pokphand Group, Thailand’s largest conglomerate, is building a $455 million medical center with an R&D center for biotechnology, a hospital, and an institute for medical teaching.  The construction of the medical center is targeted for completion by 2021. 

  Web Resources>

Thai Medical Device Technology Industry Association

Upcoming Medical Devices Trade Shows:

InterCare Asia 2019 (International Expo for Elderly Care and Wellness)
Date: 11-13 July, 2019

Medical Devices ASEAN (MDA) 2019
Date: 10-12 July, 2019

Medical Fair Thailand 2019
Date: 11-13 September, 2019

HIMSS AsiaPac19
Date: 7-10 October, 2019