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28 Oct 2019


Upgrade Thai plastic resin quality to become a production base for internationally-accredited medical devices (Current Issue No.3046)


           Thailand has so far relied on the imported materials for medical equipment production such as high-quality catheters, even though the Thai plastic industry is regarded as having a solid base throughout the supply chain. However, Thailand's upstream and midstream manufacturers have focused on products with low added value. Meanwhile, the demand for high quality medical devices has increased due to an increasing application of technology in medical procedures. For example, vasodilation and small incision surgery can be done at a lower fee while modern healthcare treatment is easily accessible and trusted by patients. Nonetheless, amid the ongoing environmental campaign against plastic trash, global plastic consumption is set to reduce significantly. An upgrade of the quality of Thai plastics by focusing on the production of medical grade plastic materials will provide a business opportunity for operators in plastic resin manufacturing and injection molding for healthcare in the future.

          KResearch expects that Thailand's market value of catheters in 2028 will reach USD237.5 million with a compound annual growth rate of 16 percent, driven by local factors i.e. Thailand's becoming an aging society and the government's policy to transform Thailand into a medical hub. Additionally, the development of medical grade plastic resins also encourages the producers of medical devices to elevate their production to replace foreign-made merchandise, reducing import spending and increasing business opportunities in the potential export markets.

               ​At any rate, the domestic production of high-quality catheters may not be cost efficient due to issues related to economies of scale. Therefore, producers of upstream plastic resins and manufacturers associated with injection molding should look for business opportunities in markets with prospects such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore where demand for medical grade plastics is set to rise because of the growth of the older population and technological advancement. Alternatively, they may carry out research with their partners to develop quality products, and adapt to the ever-changing market needs. The operators in the plastic molding industry should also keep a close watch on the market trends to increase business opportunities and capacity. They should particularly focus on the standards throughout the production process while looking for business partners both at home and abroad to diversify production risks.