Taiwan's biotech market is relatively small in size, worth about NT$ 29 billion in 2015, but its growth momentum is strong, due to government policy support and the maturation of companies' drug pipelines.
Pharmaceutical drugs have accounted for around 25% of all medical costs in Taiwan since the introduction of the National Health Insurance Administration (NHI), higher than the OECD average of 16%. In addition, healthcare and pharmaceutical needs also continue to rise in Taiwan as a result of universal access to and overuse of medical care services. People in Taiwan visit a doctor 15.7 times a year on average, higher than the OECD average of 5.9 times per year.
Development Status of Taiwan's Biotechnology Industry Unit: NTD 100 Million
|Number of company
|Domestic market demand
Source: Taiwan Biotechnology Industry White Paper 2015, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan
Aside from the introduction of the NHI, government policy support has been a key contributor to the growth of Taiwan's biotech industry, especially the biomedicine and medical device industries. Since 1995, the biotech industry has been recognized as one of the most important industries in Taiwan. It was regarded as one of the "Rising Star" industries in the 6-year "Two Trillion, Two Stars" national development plan in 2002. In 2007, Taiwan enacted "the Biotech and New Pharmaceutical Development Act" to provide various tax breaks and incentives to promote the development of the biomedicine industry.
Market size of Taiwan's biotech, pharma and medical device industries
Two years later, the government launched its "Taiwan Biotechnology Take-off Diamond Action Plan" to strengthen this industry's basic structure. It has since established several biotech-focused science parks around Taiwan to give a further boost to the industry. The government is now focused on building up the capability of the biotech value chain. The output value of the biomedical and medical device industries, which rank high on the Taiwanese government's list of priorities, has enjoyed double-digit growth in recent years.
The Taiwan government helps the biotech industry connect with the international market while strengthening the industry by integrating resources and establishing a so-called "biomedical corridor" that runs from the biomedical park near Academia Sinica in Taipei's Nangang District to the medical equipment research park in Hsinchu County's Jhubei City, the Central Taiwan Science Park, and all the way to the Southern Taiwan Science Park.
As for the biomedicine industry, Taiwan has a world-class, high-quality healthcare system, so there are plenty of professional medical personnel and medical facilities. This is the critical factor for developing new drugs and clinical trials in biomedical research. The new government intends to push its "Asia-Pacific biomedicine R&D center program," which is aimed at making Taiwan one of the world's leading countries in the biomedical sector, much like Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Belgium.
Development Status of Taiwan's pharmaceutical industry
Regarding the business environment of the biomedicine industry, Taiwan's biotech and pharma companies generally look to form alliances with contract research organizations and pharma multinationals, develop high-end drugs, and expand into China, Asia and the rest of the world, either through distribution partnerships, strategic relationships, or acquisitions. In addition, Taiwan is also well positioned to act as a bridge into China for multinationals, while domestic firms also look to collaborate with Chinese counterparts to take advantage of China's healthcare system reforms.
Taiwan pharmaceutical market by sales revenue
Although Taiwan's market size is relatively small, its growth momentum is strong. Key drivers for future growth include the government's continuing strong policy support, closer collaboration with China on new drug development, and the maturation of company pipelines and service offerings.