By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN
Viroj Vithayaveroj, chairman and managing director of Philips (Thailand), said that the medical equipment market is expected to see sustained growth, pointing to the ageing population and the increased health consciousness of the middle class.
Urbanisation will also spur demand for innovative products, especially in the healthcare industry, Viroj said. The government’s efforts to promote Thailand as a medical hub in the Asean reason, with world-class medical services and an increased number of hospitals, will further underpin the market.
On the regional dimension, Viroj said the Asean Economic Community (AEC) will provide opportunities for hospitals to welcome more patients with purchasing power from neighbouring countries.
“First of all, Philips’ commitment is to improve 3 billion lives each year by 2025. This will also be implemented in Thailand policy for our business goal as well. So, we will deliver meaningful innovation to make people’s lives better.
“In addition, we would like to increase the perception of Philips as a leading brand of health technology among Thai consumers.”
Viroj said that Thailand is a fast-changing market for technology and innovation. For the medical sector, Thai market is one of top priorities markets in Asia for the introduction of new technology and the implementation of innovations.
“The key challenge is a market benchmark on price set-up which normally uses the cheapest brand to set the budget of purchasing,” Viroj said.
“As a result of this, it affects our competitiveness in the market. Even though our devices have higher prices, we offer better standards, full functionality and additional features which rival products might not have. So, we have to invest to educate market and stakeholders.
“Most of the purchasing in Thailand comes from public sector, but there is a reduced budget for purchases of high-value medical devices. Therefore, we need to redefine our business model for this customer segment from selling products to the hire purchase model instead. This business model will drive us to work closely with our distributor to enhance our business opportunities.”
He said that the company believes that Thailand will be able to become the medical hub of Asean because of the number of hospitals, and the expertise of its specialised healthcare professionals as well as the service mindset and attitude of hospitality in the country.
Philips yesterday unveiled in Thailand its Philips Tempus ALS, which incorporates a first-responder monitoring defibrillator, with high-performing vital sign monitor and real-time telemedicine. It is also features an ultrasound transducer for point-of-injury line placement and vascular examinations. This means increased effectiveness during the transport of patients and throughout the chain of survival.
There are about 1.7 million emergency cases in Thailand each year, with nearly 7 per cent of those involved suffering from cardiac arrest.