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VN pharmaceutical sector growth peaks in Asia

Nov 18. 2016
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VIETNAM’S pharmaceutical industry is on the rise because of booming demand stemming from increasing national health-insurance coverage and increased spending on drugs per capita since 2010, an expert said.

Former deputy health minister Le Van Tuyen made the remarks during a conference on Vietnam’s pharmaceutical industry and policy held in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday.

Vietnam is expected to become one of the top 20 fastest and most stably growing countries in the pharmaceutical sector within five years, according to Business Monitor International. Money spent on pharmaceutical products per capita in Vietnam has doubled to around US$40 (Bt1,400) annually over the past five years.

Tuyen further commented on the favourable conditions for the development of the domestic pharmaceutical field as the fastest-growing market in Asia, with 2015 sales at $4.2 billion and an average growth rate of 17-20 per cent from 2010 to 2015 and a prospect of 2017 growth at about 17 per cent.

Nonetheless, total domestic pharmaceutical output only accounts for 45 per cent of total demand, leading to a constant supply shortage for hospitals. 

Also, Eastern medicine currently only takes up 1-1.5 per cent of the total market, though the Health Ministry has predicted a spike to 30 per cent in five years thanks to the vast ingredients selection of more than 4,000 herbs.

Currently, the World Health Organisation has verified only 150 Vietnamese pharmaceutical factories as having good manufacturing practice (GMP) quality. 

Comprehensive cover 

The Health Ministry aims for a 2020 comprehensive cover of medicine supply with domestic production accounting for 80 per cent of total medicine demand, and an upgraded policy on investment and technology transfer.

It says the Vietnamese pharmaceutical industry is lacking in several areas, such a long-term concentrated development strategy as well as a modern promotion and distribution system. The current level of creativity is demonstrated through the low proportion of domestic patented inventions of 1 per cent.


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