Future bright for VN pharma

March 08, 2019 - 08:00

Việt Nam’s medical equipment and pharmaceutical markets have seen double-digit growth in recent years and that momentum would continue, making the country increasingly attractive to foreign investors, experts have said.

A booth at the Pharmed & Healthcare Vietnam 2018. With double digit growth in the past few years, Việt Nam’s medical equipment and pharmaceutical markets are increasingly attractive to investors. — Photo source pharmed.vn
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — Việt Nam’s medical equipment and pharmaceutical markets have seen double-digit growth in recent years and that momentum would continue, making the country increasingly attractive to foreign investors, experts have said.

According to Business Monitor International, Việt Nam’s healthcare expenditure was estimated at US$16.1 billion in 2017, representing 7.5 per cent of its GDP. The figure will grow at 12.5 per cent a year to $22.7 billion by 2021, it said.

It also predicted double-digit growth in the next few years for the medical equipment and drug markets.

Võ Tân Thành, deputy chairman of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said the pharmaceutical industry had seen two-digit growth in recent years and that would continue until 2022.

“The demand for quality healthcare is growing every year with rising incomes in Việt Nam. Moreover, the changing disease patterns with the inexorable increase in the elderly population of over 60 years will also contribute to greater healthcare spending in Việt Nam.

“Although the domestic pharmaceutical industry has made great progress, it only meets 52.5 per cent of demand.”

Domestic production consists of mostly generic drugs produced for domestic consumption and outsourcing for foreign enterprises.

“On average, around 60,000 tonnes of pharmaceutical materials are consumed each year, of which 80-90 per cent is imported, mainly from China and India.”

Drug imports cost US$2.8 billion in 2017, up 10 per cent from 2016, and $3 billion last year, he said.

“There will be higher demand for affordable medicines as well as sophisticated medical devices and equipment.”

Hứa Phú Doãn, vice chairman and general secretary of the HCM City Medical Equipment Association, told a recent event the medical equipment market had been growing 18 per cent in recent years, with imports accounting for more than 90 per cent.

Việt Nam buys mainly diagnostic imaging equipment such as X-ray, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scanners and equipment used for surgery, endoscopy, sterilisation, testing, and medical waste treatment.

The market was expected to grow by over 20 per cent annually on the back of Việt Nam’s high economic growth, he said.

Hospitals and clinics will have greater demand for modern medical equipment to replace obsolete equipment. Besides, there are more hospitals, clinics, and beauty salons in the pipeline, which will create additional demand for medical devices.

K Srikar Reddy, the Indian consul general in HCM City, said Việt Nam was rapidly emerging as a medical tourism destination in the region.

Last year nearly 15.5 million foreigners visited the country, many for medical treatment, and many healthcare facilities had sprung up to serve these international patients, he said.

Many Indian firms were keen on the Vietnamese market and wanted to develop beneficial long-term business relationships in the pharmaceuticals, medical and hospital sectors with Vietnamese partners, he said.

Pharmed and Healthcare Việt Nam

To help local professionals keep abreast of new technologies and drugs and foreign exhibitors find distributors and business partners in Việt Nam, ADPEX Joint Stock Company has collaborated with the Việt Nam Pharmaceutical Companies Association and Việt Nam Medical Products Import – Export Joint Stock Company to organise Pharmed & Healthcare Vietnam expo in HCM City from September 11  to 14.

To be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre, Pharmed & Healthcare Vietnam 2019 has attracted exhibitors from countries and territories with a developed healthcare sector like Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Canada, South Korea, Japan, China, Pakistan, Italy, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The exhibition will have 600 booths showcasing a wide range of the latest pharmaceutical products, drug manufacturing and packaging machinery, diagnostic equipment, healthcare and rehabilitation equipment, surgical instruments, dental and ophthalmological and aesthetic equipment and products.

It will also feature a series of conferences and seminars chaired by national and international experts. — VNS