MSCM Holdings Berhad is venturing into medical supplies and support as it seeks to reduce reliance on its core business and tap into the RM80bil Malaysian healthcare industry.
The group through its subsidiary HS Bio Supplies Sdn Bhd (HSBS) intends to be involved in the business of trading and provision of bio supplies, healthcare products, medical equipment, supplements, test kits, vaccines, among others.
This is following its recent partnership with eMedAsia Sdn Bhd which runs www.eMedAsia.com as a medical digital platform.
In the near-term, eMedAsia will introduce e-health and e-medicine services on its platform and revolutionise how medical and healthcare is extended to patients.
Under the current partnership, HSBS, as a last-mile delivery and fulfilment service provider, will work with Line Clear Express & Logistics Sdn Bhd in procuring, warehousing, process, pick and pack, and delivering supplies to ensure eMedAsia completes the supply chain.
The group is confident that it will make a smooth entry into the healthcare sector by leveraging on eMedAsia’s expertise and network in the healthcare industry, its existing digital platform for clinics as well as its wide connection with doctors.
MSCM is a public-listed company on the main market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad while eMedAsia is majority-owned by the Malaysia Medical Association (MMA) via its investment arm, Koperasi Persatuan Perubatan Malaysia.
Bridging the supplies gap
Backed by a strong network of still-growing 2,000 private clinics and 35,000 medical practitioners through MMA and Line Clear’s expertise and resources in fulfillment and logistics, HSBS is currently in negotiation to be the exclusive distributor of Health Ministry-approved and compliant vaccines, test kits, medicine, products and supplements relating to all kinds of illnesses and diseases including the prevailing pandemic or any future outbreak.
Besides bringing in healthcare supplies currently unavailable in Malaysia through its international channels and network, HSBS will also source for relevant products through existing manufacturers, suppliers and distributors to widen its offering so that Malaysians can enjoy better health and lifestyle.
By riding on eMedAsia which has also partnered with pathology lab GeneFlux BioScience Sdn Bhd – whose lab has met the Institute of Medical Research’s and World Health Organisation’s protocols to run the RT PCR Covid-19 test – the public can now undergo Covid-19 RT PCR testing at designated clinics approved by the Health Ministry in addition to other lab tests that are now available.
With this system in place, HSBS is planning to provide targeted mobile testing facilities for communicable diseases and viruses upon receiving direction/orders from the eMedAsia platform.
HSBS will collect samples and send to its designated medical lab for testing, or purchase the test kits on behalf of customers from pharmaceutical companies and suppliers and send to customers at designated points for immediate testing.
For instance, in the event a building or an area is affected by a communicable disease or virus, HSBS will be able to deploy mobile testing vessels to the site to address the issue in a timely manner. This way, it will be more effective in containing the disease.
HSBS also plans to provide services to administer supplements and in the future, vaccines, through its trained personnel by working closely with the Health Ministry and relevant authorities.
As MSCM aims to grow in the healthcare business, it will ensure that all its products including gloves and bio supplies and other services such as supply chain management and mobile testing facilities are approved and/or have met the requirements and procedures of regulatory bodies.
Just last month, MSCM commissioned its own glove manufacturing plant with a turnkey project partner in Sungai Petani, Kedah, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Hong Seng Gloves Sdn Bhd. The first glove is expected to be produced by April 2021.
Banking on the huge potential and exponential market both locally and globally, MSCM believes that its new venture would help to create a new milestone for the company.
According to a report by Frost & Sullivan, the total healthcare spending in Malaysia, which stood at only RM52bil at end-2017, is expected to reach about RM80bil by 2020. This is a staggering increase of 28% in just three years.
Digitalisation of medical industry
eMedAsia has onboarded almost 2,000 registered private clinics out of the total 6,000 in the nation – and the number is growing.
MMA has more than 14,000 registered doctors in its association and more than 35,000 doctors on its continuing professional development platform.
Together with the doctors and medical practitioners on board, eMedAsia aims to capture the future growth of the private healthcare industry through the 6,000 private clinics in Malaysia and ultimately bring about a paradigm shift in how healthcare equipment and pharmaceutical supplies are handled.
All this is based on the novel idea that Malaysia will become the global pioneer in e-health and e-medicine adoption and advancement.
The partnership with HSBS would give eMedAsia an advantage especially in terms of the management of the inventory supplies.
The large number of health professionals with the MMA would enable the eMedAsia platform to expand.
While it is still too early to compare eMedAsia with China’s largest healthcare platform Ping An Good Doctor, the increasing user base and number of daily online consultations in China following the Covid-19 pandemic shows the growth potential for Malaysia – and eMedAsia stands to benefit by being one of the first movers in the country.
In Malaysia, the digital industry has grown strongly during the pandemic and is expected to see continued pick-up post-pandemic.
According to a survey of local players in the industry, teleconsultation has risen by 20% on a month-on-month basis.
Private hospitals are jumping onto the teleconsultation bandwagon, which is expected to maintain its momentum even after the containment of Covid-19.
This does not include the potential that Malaysia is able to recoup her losses from medical tourism while international borders are closed.
With e-health services, foreign patients will be able to utilise the teleconsultation facility without having to travel here.
Life in the new normal post-pandemic is likely to see people embracing healthcare technology and taking more proactive measures to maintain a healthier lifestyle.
People are coming to terms with the realities of our interconnected world and how difficult it is to temporarily separate those connections to others.
One of the implications following the lockdowns and isolations is how people change their shopping behaviours to bulk-buying and online shopping.
Malaysians are changing what we’re buying, when and how. Malaysians are also turning to telehealth services for non-emergency and health enquiries.
As people avoid moving about to reduce the risk of infection, almost all businesses are affected and in most cases forced to shut down and this situation also affects private clinics, doctors and patients.
Hence, there is a need for private clinics to move away from the traditional approach and embrace technological advancement towards e-health and e-medicine.
Through the eMedAsia platform, doctors and clinics will be able to enjoy lower cost of medicines and medical supplies by leveraging on bulk purchases.
Besides that, general practitioners can also provide online consultation remotely to millions of Malaysians and have the prescriptions delivered to them through the 3PL and 4PL services provided by HSBS.
Currently, eMedAsia has nine suppliers including Pharmaniaga and Tigas offering more than 600 SKUs such as consumables, pharmaceutical medicines, Covid-19 test kits, personal protective equipment and others.
In the event of emergencies, the public can also administer basic first aid care by following the online first aid guide or tutorial which is available on www.eMedAsia.com.