Vietnam aims to raise the ratio of locally-made medicines to 80 percent by 2020 (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Health Ministry discussed a strategy to develop the pharmaceutical industry at a seminar it jointly held with the Party Central Committee's Commission for Economic Affairs and the Australian Embassy in Vietnam in Hanoi on June 27.

Deputy Head of the Party Central Committee's Commission for Economic Affairs Ngo Dong Hai stressed that Vietnam is said to be a potential market for the pharmaceutical industry.

The Party and State’s policies on health care that targets full health insurance coverage for the whole people will drive up demand for medicines, he said.

Vietnam boasts great potential for developing the sector as it has a rich pool of medicinal plants and traditional medicine, he said, adding that if cooperation in research is promoted along with proper investment for the sector, Vietnam is able to produce medicines that meet international standards and export-related standards.

Participants shared the view that the pharmaceutical sector is facing difficulties and challenges due to inadequate State budget and great dependence on imported pharmaceuticals.

According to Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, Vietnam aims to raise the ratio of locally-made medicines to 80 percent by 2020, with 40 percent of which being proven bioequivalent. However, the target is hard to achieve in the context of extensive globalisation and international integration, and fierce competition.

The rate of use of domestically produced medicines in central-level hospitals remains low, she said, attributing the situation to insufficient attention to distribution work in the sector.

Additionally, medicinal plants grown on an area of only 15,000 hectares meet nearly 30 percent of the domestic production needs.

Participants said it is necessary to address difficulties facing the sector, focusing on improving the business climate, promoting technology application in production, bettering the quality of human resources, and increasing investment for the sector.

They also recommended a number of policies to attract more investment for the industry, towards developing the country into a pharmaceutical production centre of the region by 2035.-VNA