Future bright for Vietnamese pharmaceutical market hinh anh 1Workers package pharmaceuticals at a factory (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA)Vietnam’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, Vietnam’s health care expenditure was estimated at 16.1 billion USD in 2017, representing 7.5 percent of its GDP. The figure will grow at 12.5 percent a year to 22.7 billion USD by 2021, it said.

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

Vo Tan Thanh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam 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 health care is growing every year with rising incomes in Vietnam. 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 Vietnam.

“Although the domestic pharmaceutical industry has made great progress, it only meets 52.5 percent 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 percent is imported, mainly from China and India.”

Drug imports cost 2.8 billion USD in 2017, up 10 percent from 2016, and 3 billion USD last year, he said.

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

Hua Phu Doan, Vice Chairman and General Secretary of the HCM City Medical Equipment Association, told a recent event the medical equipment market has been growing 18 percent in recent years, with imports accounting for more than 90 percent.

Vietnam 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 is expected to grow by over 20 percent annually on the back of Vietnam’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 to HCM City, said Vietnam is 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 health care facilities have sprung up to serve these international patients, he said.

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

To help local professionals keep abreast of new technologies and drugs and foreign exhibitors find distributors and business partners in Vietnam, ADPEX Joint Stock Company has collaborated with the Vietnam Pharmaceutical Companies Association and Vietnam 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 health care sector like Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Canada, the Republic of 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/VNA