If you are in the pharmaceutical industry, you are already aware that your product(s) is a necessity for everyone. However, have your marketing efforts truly reached everyone in Thailand? Have you maximized your product’s potential?

If your brand has missed the group of migrants, especially Myanmar migrants, you surely have a huge opportunity to explore further. There are roughly 2 million registered Myanmar people working in Thailand, making them the largest migrant group. Additionally, Myanmar migrants make up a significant portion of Thailand’s labor force. Generally, laborers and unskilled workers receive daily wages. Therefore, if they become slightly ill, they often prefer to purchase medicine from a nearby store or pharmacy instead of missing work to visit a hospital and lose a day’s pay.

Thailand migration report 2019 (REF) The report demonstrates the significant role that CLMV migrants play in Thailand’s economy and labor force.

To gain a better understanding of Myanmar migrants and their medicine purchasing behaviors, here we have 6 surveys from Myanmar migrants to share with you.

Mr. Ko Hein Tun 

Age: 27 
Career: Restaurant staff 

 

What health issues do you often have?

Body pain

What medicines do you usually purchase over the counter? 

– Paracetamol or other pain relief medicines

– Cough relief medicine

– Pain relief cream

Where do you buy medicine normally?

A pharmacy. Also visit a clinic if necessary. 

How much do you spend on medicine each time?

Above 100 THB

How often do you buy medicine?

2-3 times per month

Which medicine brands are you familiar with? 

Tylenol

Are there any supplements, herbs or other traditional medicines that you regularly take?

Vitamin C

—–

Mr. U Mg Win Kyaw

Age: 40s
Career: Factory worker

 

What health issues do you often have?

Cold

What medicines do you usually purchase over the counter? 

Cough relief medicine

Where do you buy medicine normally?

A nearby store

How much do you spend on medicine each time?

50-100 THB

How often do you buy medicine?

Once a month

Which medicine brands are you familiar with? 

– Tiffy

– Decolgen 

Are there any supplements, herbs or other traditional medicines that you regularly take?

Vitamin C

—–

Mr. Bo Naing Tun

Age: 23
Career: Restaurant staff 

 

What health issues do you often have?

Diarrhea / Constipation 

What medicines do you usually purchase over the counter? 

– Paracetamol or other pain relief medicines

– Pain relief cream

Where do you buy medicine normally?

A pharmacy 

How much do you spend on medicine each time?

Above 100 THB

How often do you buy medicine?

2-3 times per month

Which medicine brands are you familiar with? 

Tylenol

Are there any supplements, herbs or other traditional medicines that you regularly take?

Vitamin C

—–

Mr. Maung Maung Aye

Age: 30s
Career: Factory worker

 

What health issues do you often have?

Body pain

What medicines do you usually purchase over the counter? 

Paracetamol or other pain relief medicines

Where do you buy medicine normally?

A nearby store

How much do you spend on medicine each time?

10-50 THB

How often do you buy medicine?

2-3 times per month

Which medicine brands are you familiar with? 

Decolgen

Are there any supplements, herbs or other traditional medicines that you regularly take?

Vitamin C

—–

Mr. Hay Mar Soe

Age: 20s
Career: Factory worker

 

What health issues do you often have?

Cold and headache 

What medicines do you usually purchase over the counter? 

Paracetamol or other pain relief medicines

Where do you buy medicine normally?

A nearby store

How much do you spend on medicine each time?

50-100 THB

How often do you buy medicine?

Once a month

Which medicine brands are you familiar with? 

Decolgen

Are there any supplements, herbs or other traditional medicines that you regularly take?

Turmeric

—–

Mr. Naing Lin Tun

Age: 20s
Career: Factory worker

 

What health issues do you often have?

Constipation

What medicines do you usually purchase over the counter? 

Pain relief cream

Where do you buy medicine normally?

A nearby store or a clinic

How much do you spend on medicine each time?

Above 100 THB

How often do you buy medicine?

Once a month

Which medicine brands are you familiar with? 

Decolgen

Are there any supplements, herbs or other traditional medicines that you regularly take?

Herbal medicine

—–

 

Key takeaways from our survey

 

         

 

Health issues they experience

Body pain is their main health issue due to the physically demanding nature of their work. Pain relief medicine, both oral and topical, are purchased frequently. 

In addition, they commonly experience general symptoms such as cold, headache, coughing, stomach ache, diarrhea and constipation. 

The brands they remember

  • Most are familiar with Decolgen 
  • Tylenol and Tiffy were also mentioned

Based on this information, we can assume that they frequently experience symptoms such as cold, fever, headache and other body pains which require these medicines. 

Supplements are surprisingly popular

Although supplements are not a necessary item, surprisingly many mentioned they take Vitamin C. It could be the COVID-19 that caused them health concerns and grew their awareness of Vitamin C benefits.

 

Compare with the large-scale survey

Our survey also matches with the survey published in ‘Disease Control Journal’ on the topic of ‘Occupational health problems among migrant workers in Samut Sakhon province’ in which they interviewed 1,014 migrant workers.

General health issues

58.4% of migrant workers reported that they usually had a headache, 40.6% had back pain, and 30.4% had diarrhea. 

Image Credit: commons.wikimedia

Accident and risk at work

30.7% reported slips at work, 18.7% had chemical exposure, and 18.6% got skin disease caused by their work.

Many also reported experiencing back pain, and had accidents such as falling objects and forklift accidents.

Treatment approach

When they experienced minor illness, 66% purchased medicine over the counter, 32.6% took leave, and 27.8% visited a government hospital.

 

Where to start in marketing?

For over-the-counter medicine, brand awareness plays an important role as people tend to opt for the brand they recognize. Not to mention, when someone falls ill, they have very little time to decide which medication to purchase, making it even more important to stay top-of-mind with your target. If your product is a topical medicine such as pain relief cream or antifungal cream, consider conducting an activation, offering free product samples in Myanmar migrant communities, together with a Burmese-speaking staff educating them on proper usage.

Happio activation in Myanmar migrant communities

If it’s an oral medicine, offering free samples casually might feel strange. Instead, you could consider promoting your product through Burmese-language banners or flyers. 

Social media marketing is another step to go. Creating educational content about health can help establish your brand as a trusted resource and build a strong relationship with potential customers.

 

Choose a good marketing partner with experience

Offline or online, Happio can be your good partner in this migrant market journey. With over 10 years of experience in the market, and a team of Myanmar content and activation specialists, we can help you develop the right strategy, conduct a market survey and execute to achieve your goals. Contact us anytime to discuss your marketing needs.

 

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