Myanmar always has a lower spending of GDP compared to the spending of other Asian countries. In 2013, Myanmar spent roughly 2 percent of its GDP on healthcare whereas, Laos spent did percent and Cambodia did 6.5 percent. In 2013, the health expenditure was around MMK38,000 ($30) per capita and it is now expected to reach MMK 254,000 ($200) per capita within the next 10 years. Myanmar also has fewer doctors per capita than other countries in the region, with 6.1 doctors per 10,000 people in the country. Public hospitals account for ~86% of hospitals but are far behind regional quality standards. The private sector has a more important role than that of the public one in delivering health care and a significant proportion of total health expenses is out-of-pocket ones. Patients have to pay for medicine and treatment, even in public clinics and hospitals and public hospitals lack many of the basic facilities and equipment. Over the last 5 years, there has 50% increase in the number of private hospital.
Starting from 2015, the government has been spending more for the healthcare budget, targeting an annual growth rate of 6% until 2020. There is a long-term (30) years health development plan which had been drawn up to meet the future health challenges with considerations of rapidly changing demographics, epidemiological and economic trends. The government is encouraging the investors to Focus on medicines, medical equipment, and building infrastructure for health insurance. Level of health investment is still low compared to the demand for health care.
The government has also introduced a foreign investment law that allows 70% foreign investments in hospitals and healthcare sector in 2015. In 2016, the government has enacted an Organ Donation law, Myanmar Red Cross Law and Myanmar Medical Council Law and updated the Blood and Blood Products Law. In addition, the government also relaxed restrictions on foreigners distributing medical equipment. There have been improvements of the regulatory standards covering the necessary logistical chain for foreign invested hospitals and clinics.
Certain healthcare such as health center for elderly and indigenous laboratory research is restricted from foreign ownership. Some other activities have limitations on foreign direct investment, meaning foreigners may own up to a certain percentage, typically 80%. There are different ownership rules for each relevant sector. Foreigners, on case-by-case basis, can purchase an equity stake in an existing Myanmar owned company and such can be done by either a Myanmar Company issuing new shares or one transferring shares to the foreigners. An existing Myanmar company, which owns any land, would not be allowed to have any foreign shareholders, as most land is state owned. Foreign owned company may lease land with a long-term lease of 50 years, extendable with two 10 years periods. Moreover, there are restrictions on foreign expatriates working in the healthcare industry. Regarding the health insurance system, Myanmar has an obligatory social security scheme. For importing and distributing medical equipment’s, foreign invested companies can do so with an import license and a recommendation by the Ministry of Health’s FDA for each importation.
Investment businesses foreign investors are not allowed to carry out is Transportation patients to hospitals in foreign countries.
Investment businesses allowed only in the form of joint venture with a citizen owned entity or a Myanmar citizen is opening a Veterinary clinic.
Investment businesses permitted with recommendation of Ministry of Health and Sport are
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