Medical Plastic Data Service Magazine



Our 31st Year of Publication
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Global Market - Medical Devices


Mr. Amit Dave,
M. Pharm, MBA,
Former CEO - Brazil Operations/ Vice President Export – Zydus Cadila/Claris Lifesciences

Country profile

Singapore is positioned at 12th number in the health care innovation world index. Singapore population stands at 5.6 mn which is quite small compared to that of India. However, close to 10 % Indian population as part of the total population makes it an easy place to explore and approach. Ethnic Diversity of the population is : 74.3% Chinese, 13.4% Malay, 9% Indian and 3.2% other. Singapore is also a gateway to south east Asia market, being a business hub for this region, adding to its importance.

In the whole region, Singapore spends maximum on healthcare on per capita bases now, and this will further rise in the coming years. Ageing population is seen as the most important reason for this change. In the next few years, Singapore will be a “super-old” or “grey” country in 2035 with 27% population in above-65 age group, and this will demand higher medical care focus. Its national health expenditure is expected to grow to 43 bn US dollar (For a quick comparison, Pharma market of India today is valued at 42 bn USD).


Singapore is the healthcare hub for the region and attracts many medical tourism (now known as medical value travel) clients making the market larger in proportion to the population. Close to 500,000 medical tourists (compare this with 5.6 mn population!) were visiting Singapore (majority - about 60% - came from Indonesia) before the pandemic.


MediSave and MediShield Life are the most popular healthcare providers in Singapore where employed people contribute regularly on monthly bases for health coverage for them as well as their dependents.


Regulatory framework


Health Sciences Authority (HAS, under the Ministry of Health) is responsible for the regulatory control of healthcare products including Medical Devices. The law controlling and guiding medical devices in Singapore is the Health Products Act (HPA) and its Health Products (Medical Devices) Regulations 2010. Their website link for Medical Devices is and is one of the most user-friendly website as per the experience of this author. As discussed earlier in this column, the evaluation route for Devices is governed by the risk classification of the device. The risk classification system falls under -


Class A – Low risk devices (example – wheelchairs)
Class B – Low to moderate risk devices (example – hypodermic needles)
Class C – Moderate to high risk devices (example – ventilators)
Class D – High risk devices (example – heart valves)


An exporter from India can sell registered medical devices directly to end users in Singapore with the support of a licensed importer (holding ISO 13485 and Good Distribution Practices) required to clear goods through the customs. A distributor dealing with only Class A devices may submit a declaration of conformity to a Quality Management System (QMS) in lieu of ISO 13485 or Good Distribution Practices (GDP) certification. This is important and useful for home care / patient care products suppliers from India which is a big market in Singapore which is a big opportunity).


Medical Devices market


Medical devices industry of Singapore is estimated at US$1.3 billion and the main drivers are increasing government spending, an ageing local population, as well as its supplies to cater the demand from the region.


A big opportunity is demand for home care devices such as Elderly Care -Monitoring Systems (sensors at home, applications, and wearable devices). 85% of the country’s medical devices are catered by overseas suppliers. The main suppliers are from the USA, Japan and Germany. The market in Singapore is fragmented, however, with supplies to the end users (public hospitals, private hospitals, and others) being more common.


The supply chain in Singapore is short and efficient. There are agencies which do Indian suppliers’ product match with Distributors at some fees and this service may be worth looking into, mainly because frequency of new distributors opening and going off from the market is quite high here in this market. Singapore is a key hub for manufacturing a range of advanced medical technologies for global markets, including implanted pacemakers, contact lenses, and mammography equipment.


Opportunities and Challenges


Singapore offers some very good opportunities -


- Home care and Elderly Care devices governed by elderly population is clearly an opportunity. Almost all of these products fall in Class A making importation by a local party are easier.


- Singapore is an entry point for the whole southeast Asia market. A stable political and economic environment adds to the attractiveness of this market.


- Singapore’s strong base for research and innovation can help med-tech companies in framing collaboration models in healthcare. Also, unique and bubbling start-up culture of Singapore can offer various financial support opportunities for growing companies.


The main challenge is competition from the most developed nations in the med-tech field.

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