Delta Medical:  A Swiss Pharmaceutical Company in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is emerging as a pharmaceutical frontier. Fueled by oil wealth, the nation’s economy has rapidly expanded and its healthcare sector is following suit.  

With 20 million potential patients and counting, Kazakhstan represents a tempting market. Investments in medical infrastructure and swelling public funding have set the stage for growth. 

Yet seizing this opportunity takes local know-how. Byzantine regulations, disjointed distribution, and complex stakeholder dynamics pose hazards for outside companies.

Astute pharmaceutical managers who act now can sidestep these pitfalls. The time is ripe to enter Kazakhstan before complexity and competition intensify. 

The key is working with an accomplished in-country player like Delta Medical. Our regulatory expertise smoothes market access. Our supply chain mastery simplifies distribution. While our commercial experience opens doors.

20 Million Potential Patients Ripe for Innovative Medicines

Kazakhstan has a very fast growing, and young, population.  When we started in Kazakhstan, the population was 15 million.  Population has grown over 30% in a relatively short time.  Most countries have falling demographics, but Kazakhstan is a leader, only outdone by Uzbekistan, which now has 30 million.

In the past, Kazakhstan was largely agricultural, but with the oil and development, people have flooded to the cities.  While the landmass of Kazakhstan is huge, there are significant population centers where it is cost effective to work.

Table: Population of Top Cities in Kazakhstan

Name (English)Name (Russian)Population

Kazakhstan Healthcare Infrastructure

Kazakhstan has an extensive healthcare infrastructure system spanning both the public and private sectors. However, the system faces challenges with outdated facilities and imbalanced care delivery models.

Overview of Kazakhstan’s Healthcare Infrastructure

The healthcare infrastructure across Kazakhstan consists primarily of government-owned and controlled medical facilities. Approximately 80% of all hospitals, polyclinics, dispensaries and other health centers in Kazakhstan are owned and operated by the state.

This includes over 1,000 hospitals and more than 3,400 ambulatory clinics and outpatient facilities spread across the vast geography of Kazakhstan. The country’s healthcare infrastructure aims to provide broad access to care for the 18+ million population.

However, much of the infrastructure, especially in rural regions, consists of dilapidated, outdated buildings and lacks modern medical equipment. There is an imbalance in the system related to primary care versus specialized hospital care. Resources have concentrated more in costly inpatient hospital settings rather than community-based primary care.

CategoryNumberAdditional Details
Ambulatory Clinics3,450Outpatient clinics
Doctors79,40925 per 10,000 population
Pharmacies8,00540 per 100,000 population

Scale and Distribution of Healthcare Facilities

To serve its wide-spread population across a geography larger than Western Europe, Kazakhstan has developed an extensive system of medical facilities. This includes central national hospitals focused on areas like oncology and cardiac surgery, as well as smaller rural clinics and regional multi-specialty hospitals and polyclinics.

Urban areas like Almaty and the capital Nur-Sultan (Astana) offer the most modern infrastructure along with skilled specialists. However, rural communities often deal with crumbling clinic buildings and staff shortages.

The Ministry of Healthcare frequently rolls out modernization initiatives. But budgets only allow for gradual upgrades spread thinly across thousands of facilities.

Recent data shows over 818 hospitals across Kazakhstan with around 96,000 total beds – a relatively high rate. This indicates the system’s hospital-centric structure inherited from the Soviet times.  However, Kazakhstan has been reducing the number of hospitals.  10 years ago there were 1009 hospitals, thus 20% have been closed.

In addition, there are a total 3,450 government and private ambulatory clinics and polyclinics providing primarily outpatient care. The private sector is steadily growing and of the 3,450 clinics, 1178 of them are private.

Specialized Medical Centers in Kazakhstan

While smaller locales contend with infrastructure gaps, Kazakhstan has developed first-rate specialized national medical centers focusing on areas like:

  • Oncology
  • Cardiac Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Diagnostics

For example, the National Research Cardiac Surgery Center in Nur-Sultan provides leading cardiovascular care not just for Kazakhstan but also patients across Central Asia.

The National Research Center for Oncology and Transplantation is Kazakhstan’s prime cancer hospital with advanced diagnostics and treatments.

These and other national centers aim to provide global-caliber care and medical tourism services. They also conduct scientific research together with the country’s expanding medical universities.

Table:  Key Governmental Organizations and Healthcare Institutions

Name (English)Name (Russian)Description
Ministry of HealthcareМинистерство здравоохраненияMain government body overseeing healthcare policy and the health system
National Research Center for Oncology and TransplantationНациональный научный онкологический центрCountry’s main specialized cancer hospital and research institute
National Research Cardiac Surgery CenterНациональный научный кардиохирургический центрKazakhstan’s leading specialized heart hospital located in Nur-Sultan
Republican Diagnostic CenterРеспубликанский диагностический центрNational specialized diagnostics and treatment center
National Research Center for Maternal and Child HealthНациональный научный центр материнства и детстваResearch and treatment center focused on maternal, children’s and reproductive health
National Center for NeurosurgeryНациональный центр нейрохирургииSpecialized neurosurgery hospital and research institute
Astana Medical UniversityМедицинский университет АстанаOne of Kazakhstan’s leading medical universities with bases at major national hospitals
Asfendiyarov Kazakh National Medical UniversityКазахский национальный медицинский университетTop medical university in Almaty, founded in 1931
West Kazakhstan Marat Ospanov State Medical UniversityЗападно-Казахстанский государственный медицинский университет имени Марата ОспановаMedical university in Aktobe focused on innovation and student-centered approach
Karaganda Medical UniversityКарагандинский государственный медицинский университетKazakhstan’s first medical institute outside Almaty, established in 1950
Kazakhstan School of Public HealthКазахстанская школа общественного здравоохраненияTrains public health specialists, founded in 1997
National Research Center for Health DevelopmentНациональный научный центр развития здравоохранения имени Салидат КаирбековойResearch center under Ministry of Healthcare focused on health system analysis and development
Scientific Center of Pediatrics and Pediatric SurgeryНаучный центр педиатрии и детской хирургииMajor pediatric research and treatment center located in Almaty
City Cardiology CenterГородской Кардиологический центрLeading cardiology hospital in Almaty, founded in 1896
National Healthcare ChamberНациональная Палата ЗдравоохраненияOrganization representing medical workers and providing policy recommendations
Kazakh Research Institute of Oncology and RadiologyКазахский научно-исследовательский институт онкологии и радиологииCancer research and control programs institute located in Almaty
Republican Sanitary Epidemiological StationРеспубликанская санитарно-эпидемиологическая станцияOversees disease surveillance, prevention and control programs
National Center for Health DevelopmentНациональный центр развития здравоохраненияPolicy research institute under the Ministry of Healthcare
National Scientific Medical Research CenterНациональный научный медицинский центрLeading medical research institute located in Astana
National Laboratory AstanaНациональная лаборатория АстанаAdvanced diagnostics lab for screening, research and surveillance

Funding Kazakhstan’s Healthcare System

Kazakhstan is working to reform healthcare financing with plans to increase public spending, expand insurance coverage, and reduce high out-of-pocket costs for patients. But progress has been gradual to date.

Overview of Healthcare Spending

Total health expenditure in Kazakhstan as a share of GDP has risen in recent years but remains low compared to most OECD nations at just 5-6% of GDP annually. This is far below the average level of around 10% for EU countries.

Public spending on healthcare specifically has stagnated at around 2-3% of GDP, one of the lowest rates globally. As a result, high out-of-pocket spending by patients makes up 34-38% of total health expenditures.

Key Sources of Healthcare Funding in Kazakhstan

There are several main sources of funding for Kazakhstan’s healthcare system:

  • General government budgets: Funds medical facilities, salaries, public health programs
  • Compulsory health insurance fund: Pays for care based on rates and services package
  • Out-of-pocket: Direct payments by patients for treatment and medications

In terms of health insurance, Kazakhstan is transitioning to a single-payer model with a consolidated State Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund. This now covers all citizens for a basic package of free medical services.

Introducing the new product to Delta Medical regional employees

Ongoing Reforms to Healthcare Financing

Kazakhstan aims to transition towards a more sustainable healthcare funding model with the following reforms:

  • Increasing public spending to 4% of GDP long term: Gradual budget rises to improve infrastructure and access
  • Expanding health insurance coverage: Working towards universal coverage for expanded services
  • Reducing out-of-pocket share to 15%: Lessening burden on citizens through public funding

However, fiscal challenges have impacted the timing and scope of financing reforms. The COVID-19 crisis also necessitated short-term emergency response spending…

Healthcare Workforce Shortages and Imbalances

Kazakhstan faces both overall shortages and uneven distribution of healthcare professionals across urban and rural areas.

The country has over 57,000 practicing physicians, equating to 36 doctors per 10,000 population based on 2020 statistics. This rate is higher than the OECD average.

However, Kazakhstan still experiences shortages for key specialties like family physicians, pediatricians, and nurses. Rural clinics especially lack healthcare staff, dealing with 30% vacancy rates for doctors and nurses due to unattractive working conditions.

As a result, the physician density ratio in major cities can be 3-4 times higher than deprived rural zones in terms of doctors per 1,000 residents.

Key Challenges Impacting Kazakh Healthcare Professionals

Several factors make pursuing and sustaining a medical career difficult in Kazakhstan:

  • Low salaries across roles like nurses, paramedics and even specialty fields
  • High workloads and stress due to understaffing and outdated processes
  • Lack of modern medical equipment with infrastructure gaps
  • Insufficient ongoing training programs like continuing education

These dynamics lead to low job satisfaction and drive personnel to switch careers or emigrate.

Introducing the new product to Delta Medical regional employees

Reforms Seek to Boost the Healthcare Workforce

To strengthen its healthcare workforce, Kazakhstan is rolling out policies focused on:

  • Raising salaries through incentive schemes and guaranteed public pay
  • Increasing medical institute admissions to boost student numbers
  • Creating digital continuing education programs for on-the-job physician training
  • Securing international partnerships and funding

Table:  Kazakh Medical Journals

Name (English)Name (Russian)Description
Journal of Clinical Medicine of KazakhstanКлиническая медицина КазахстанаInternational peer-reviewed journal publishing biomedical research, led by National Scientific Medical Research Center
MedicineМедицинаMonthly professional journal for doctors and researchers, published by Healthcare of Kazakhstan publishing house
Astana Medical JournalАстана медицинский журналMedical journal published in Nur-Sultan (Astana) led by editor Zh.Sh. Zhumadilov
ConsiliumКонсилиумMedical journal published by Healthcare of Kazakhstan publishing house
Kazakhstan Journal of Medicine and PharmacyКазахстанский журнал медицины и фармацииOpen access, peer-reviewed journal covering medicine, pharmacy and healthcare

Retail Pharmacy Market in Kazakhstan

The pharmacy retail market in Kazakhstan is a dynamic and growing sector, with approximately 8,000 pharmacies operating across the country as of 2023. The market is characterized by a mix of large pharmacy chains and independent pharmacies, each playing a significant role in providing access to medications and healthcare products for the population.

Introduction to the new Delta Medical product

Pharmacy chains account for about half of the total number of pharmacies in Kazakhstan. The largest chain, Biosfera/Format, boasts 336 pharmacies nationwide and holds a 9.44% market share as of the first half of 2023. Other major players include Rauza Ade/Amazon, Zerde-Farma, Gippokrat MFK, and Europharma. These chains often have a strong presence in major cities such as Almaty, Astana, and Shymkent.

Independent pharmacies make up the other half of the market, with around 4,000 standalone pharmacies operating across the country. These pharmacies are essential in providing access to medications in smaller towns and rural areas where chain pharmacies may not be present.

The pharmacy retail market in Kazakhstan is predominantly private, with few state-owned pharmacies. However, the government plays a crucial role in regulating the industry to ensure the quality and safety of medications and to control prices for essential drugs.

In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards online pharmacies and delivery services, such as Apteki Dobraya, which offer convenience for customers. Additionally, pharmacy associations like ASNA Kazakhstan and the Alliance of Pharmacy Chains in Kazakhstan work to promote the interests of the industry and foster collaboration among pharmacies and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Despite the growth and development of the pharmacy retail market in Kazakhstan, challenges remain in ensuring consistent access to high-quality medications and promoting the adoption of good pharmacy practices (GPP) across all pharmacies in the country.

Time is Now for the Kazakhstan Pharmaceutical Market

Kazakhstan represents an attractive emerging market for international pharmaceutical companies seeking to expand their global footprint. With its growing economy, investments in healthcare infrastructure, and reforms aimed at increasing access to medicines, Kazakhstan has strong fundamentals to support the entry and growth of innovative healthcare companies. 

Delta Medical, with over 25 years of on-the-ground expertise in Kazakhstan and the broader Eurasia region, is an ideal partner for pharmaceutical companies looking to navigate the complexities of entering this market. Our extensive capabilities in regulatory affairs, marketing, medical affairs, and supply chain management enable international partners to efficiently register, distribute, and promote their products to Kazakh healthcare providers and patients.

For pharmaceutical companies committed to improving patient access to innovative therapies in Central Asia, Kazakhstan is a pivotal growth market and Delta Medical is a trusted in-country partner. We encourage interested healthcare companies to contact our team to discuss partnership opportunities for entering Kazakhstan and expanding across the region. With our guidance and robust in-country presence, we can accelerate your company’s regional growth and impact.


Where is the Delta Medical office in Kazakhstan?

The Delta Medical office in Kazakhstan is located at Arai Business Center,  Kazybek Bi St 20А, Almaty 050010, Kazakhstan

Arai Business Center Delta office

How to call Delta Medical in Almaty?

To call Delta Medical in Almaty use the phone number +7 727 332 20 80

Is Delta Medical Hiring in Kazakhstan?

Delta Medical is often hiring people in Kazakhstan.  For current vacancies, please check our CAREER page.

Where is the Headquarters of Delta Medical?

The headquarters of Delta Medical is located in the center of Zurich, in Switzerland.

News of Kazakhstan