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Malaysia on a roll with medical device investment

The gloves are definitely off with the medical device industry in Malaysia, literally. Formerly associated with being the world's largest manufacturer of medical-use latex gloves and rubber catheters, the industry is fast transforming into a well-balanced manufacturer of all manner of medical devices, from its traditional fortes through to cutting edge cardiac rhythm management devices.

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Malaysia on a roll with medical device investment

This trend prompted UBM Canon (Los Angeles), the organizer of the MEDTEC Southeast Asia exhibition and conference for the medical device manufacturing sector and publisher of PlasticsToday, to relocate the even from Singapore to Malaysia for its November 30/December convening this year.

As part of its Industrial Master Plan, the Malaysian Government was initially conservatively targeting RM19.4 billion ($6.4 billion) in investment in medical device production between 2006 and 2020 but these initial forecasts already look like being exceeded significantly as major new investments gain momentum.

The Government is also targeting 7.6% per annum growth in exports of medical devices, which are forecast at a cumulative value of RM178.3 billion ($59 billion) between 2006 and 2020, or an average of RM12.7 billion ($4.2 billion) annually over the 14-year period. This figure may also have to be revised upwards given recent activity;

Key target areas for investment are coronary catheters, in-vitro diagnostic devices, cardiovascular devices, orthopedic devices, home-care and self-care products, high-end diagnostic devices, medical imaging equipment, and high-end hospital and laboratory equipment;

Leading global players such as St. Jude, B. Braun, Escatec Medical, LMA, Symmetry Medical and Accellent have also invested in production facilities in Malaysia or are planning to do so, with some also committed to major expansions moving forward. Additional European and US medical device manufacturers are in negotiations with the Malaysian Government to set up their manufacturing plants in Penang.

Further, Penang is in close proximity to other medical device clusters and sub-clusters in Malaysia in South Kedah, North Perak and the Klang Valley, while new companies are also emerging in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) in the South of Peninsular Malaysia neighboring Singapore.-[email protected]

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