Novartis plans community activities in Vietnam

In the middle of December, 2018, Novartis cooperated with partners to host a seminar with the aim of providing new knowledge for lawyers in the country. As well as the seminar, Mr. Roeland Roelofs, Head of the Representative Office of Novartis Pharma Services AG in Ho Chi Minh City, shared directions on developing activities for the community in Vietnam in the future.

·                                 Reporter: Sir, why has Novartis hosted a seminar on laws and regulations even though your company specialises in pharmaceuticals?

Mr. Roeland Roelofs: Novartis and its partners co-hosted an education and exchange event named Next Generation Legal Pro Bono with the aim to unite the legal community in the area, including domestic and international law firms as well as legal units inside the company. We hope that we can bring an effective and meaningful coaching program through legal consultation focusing on pharmaceuticals/life sciences. Besides, there have been significant changes coming from the practical commitments of Vietnam when joining the WTO, as well as other international commitments, specifically in our pharmaceutical field. As a result, this event is hosted in order to help develop the next legal generation and establish partnerships based on the capacity to solve challenges inside and outside healthcare in the future.

 As a business owner, what are the challenges relating to laws when operating in Vietnam?

Since we first came to Vietnam, the Government has provided us with many opportunities to operate, but of course there are also challenges like in any sector. For Novartis, on a large scale, we expect a stable and predictable business environment. As a multinational company in the pharmaceutical field we need detailed and specific guidance on establishing and operating a 100% foreign invested enterprise in the field of pharmaceutical imports, which enables Novartis to plan its investment and operating activities in the long term. Besides, we are also expressing interest in areas of public-private partnerships. Novartis expects to not only contribute to the healthcare system in urban areas but also increase access to primary healthcare in rural areas in Vietnam.

 Can you tell us more about the public-private partnership areas in Vietnam that Novartis is interested in? 

·                                 Novartis is currently developing, producing and exporting medicines from Switzerland to Vietnam, with a specialised model that gives the rights of medicine distribution to domestic enterprises. We don’t consider it a challenge. Instead, we are always willing to cooperate to follow the laws and regulations. It’s because the first and foremost mission of Novartis is to bring new, high-quality medicines to patients in Vietnam. We hope to work with companies with good distribution ability and willingly help them improve their capability. All is for the final goal that is being able to bring the latest inventions as well as the best medicine to patients in time.

We all know that innovative medicines have to go through development stages and clinical research to ensure safety and efficacy. For that reason, Novartis wishes to sponsor relevant healthcare stakeholders in Vietnam to operate clinical studies. We are willing to cooperate with qualified hospitals to conduct clinical studies on medicines for treating the most common diseases in Vietnam. For instance: malaria, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, skin disorders, or cancer... By doing this, we can help Vietnamese hospitals improving their capability of clinical studies, as well as introducing many new medicines for patient access.

 Does Novartis have any intentions in production deployment in Vietnam in the near future?

 The pharmaceutical industry in Vietnam is still developing. Meanwhile, Novartis is specialised in focusing on key areas in innovative medicines. As new medicine requires complex technology, to be honest, it is not easy to deploy production in many countries. Therefore, in the product developing process, we have realised that Vietnam will do better in the research stage as well as taking part in clinical testing. The next step is public-private partnerships in order to bring medicines to patients. Those are the two fields that we will invest in the future as well as long term to bring the best health to patients.

·                                 Thank you for your time!