This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 7/22/2019


Demand for healthcare services is rising due to an aging population.  Nearly ten percent of the population was 65 years of age and over at end-2017 and that figure is likely to double by 2030. 

The government continues its policy of providing free health care at public hospitals.  Government expenditure for the health sector was approximately $1.3 billion in 2018.

Increasing access to private health services is also a focus of the government, as it is difficult for the public sector alone to meet the demand for healthcare services.  The private sector has invested considerably in health care, especially in Colombo and some of the major cities, which has eased some of the burden for the state.  The demand for private sector health care has increased with higher income levels and changing preferences.  The provision of health insurance has also supported the growth in the private health care sector.  There are 612 government hospitals, nearly

200 private hospitals of varying sizes, 5,000 private pharmacies, and 1,000 laboratories in Sri Lanka.

The health care industry provides good opportunities for U.S. medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies.  

According to pharmaceutical industry experts, the local pharmaceutical industry has grown at a rate of about 15 percent in the past five years and the industry has good prospects for high-volume growth in the future.  The government is encouraging investment in the pharma sector to manufacture drugs locally.  The government has issued regulations setting maximum retail prices for 60 medicinal product formulations in 2019.  The price control applies to all branded and generic versions of drug-formulations in the schedule.

The Cosmetic Drugs and Devices Regulatory Authority regulates the pharmaceutical sector to ensure the quality, safety, and efficacy of drugs and medical equipment.  Although many pharmaceutical imports are from regional sources, the higher quality and efficacy of Western manufactured drugs is widely acknowledged by medical practitioners and consumers.  Registering of drugs can be time consuming with extensive details required by the authorities.  Dismissal of local agents by foreign principles is also complex as the agent has to provide a no objection letter to the authorities for a new agent to be appointed.

Private hospitals in Colombo are equipped with up-to-date equipment, and these hospitals provide good opportunities for U.S. suppliers.  Government tenders for equipment, pharmaceutical items, and projects represent other opportunities for U.S. companies in health care.  Engaging local representatives with experience in the medical sector and maintaining good connections to both public and private sector health providers are important for medical equipment suppliers to succeed.  Well-known international brands command a premium.  Diagnostic equipment, operating theater equipment, intensive care equipment, clinical analyzers, and hematology equipment continue to offer the best sales prospects for U.S. firms. 

U.S. exports of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals to Sri Lanka were valued at approximately $25 million in 2018.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Supplying of medical equipment to the government


The government’s medicine and equipment purchases are done on a tender basis, the health ministry updates their website regularly.

Web Resources

Ministry of Health                                    
World Bank                                                 
Durdans Hospital                       
Asiri Group of Hospitals                          
Lanka Hospitals                                       
Nawaloka Hospitals                                  
Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

More Information

Sri Lanka Biopharmaceuticals Medical Devices Trade Development and Promotion