Governments, health officials and companies operating in the health sector are facing a series of policy-related opportunities and risks in Southeast Asia. Decisions they make will influence the state of health care across the region and hopefully create the foundation for continued progress. There are four policy areas that require attention: investment, speed, innovation and choices.


Health care across Southeast Asia is becoming more accessible to the region’s most vulnerable populations, but demand is increasing rapidly. Progress has been achieved in large part through public health campaigns, public-private partnerships and political commitments by governments in the region to increase primary health coverage or insurance for citizens.

However, at least 65 million people across the region still live in extreme poverty, creating significant burdens on health systems and the most vulnerable populations. And most Southeast Asian governments spend less than 2.5% of GDP on health.

Investing in early stage research and improving patient access to clinical trials and provide economic benefits to countries in Southeast Asia including tax payments that supply state budgets as well as employment for physician researchers, contract research organizations and site management organizations.