HANOI: Vietnam’s pharmaceutical sector has grown significantly in the last decade with positive changes in government policies and an increase in domestic regulations of imported drugs. Regulations on advertising and clinical trials can create obstacles for sellers looking to break into the market, but with the right information, Vietnam offers many opportunities for potential suppliers.
Over the past year, Vietnam’s pharmaceutical market has grown by 10 percent to US$5.2 billion and the growth momentum is projected to continue with the rising expectations of a better quality of life.Around 80 percent of Vietnamese people buy their drugs from private pharmacies and self-medicate, and as individuals are often able to obtain drugs without a prescription, the most common sources of information for decision-making when buying drugs are relatives and friends.
In 2013, 95 percent of the drugs sold in Vietnam were imported, with France, India, and South Korea emerging as the top exporters to Vietnam. In 2017, France still held the lead with exports worth US$310 million, but Germany has moved from fourth to a close second, with exports worth US$292.1 million.
While most of the products are imported, Vietnam has started to produce more drugs domestically. In 2015, Vietnam produced around half of the country’s demand, but the products’ quality can be unreliable and the drugs are mostly exported to Laos and Cambodia, where the pharmaceutical market is less developed and not that competitive.