HCM  (VNA) – Vietnam and India hold plenty of advantages and potential to boost cooperation and investment in pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, heard at a webinar co-held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Branch in Ho Chi Minh City (VCCI-HCM) and the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) on December 18.

India is now Vietnam’s third largest pharmaceutical supplier, after France and Germany, with imports into Vietnam reaching 198 million USD in the first three quarters of this year, Director of VCCI-HCM Vo Tan Thanh told the webinar on opportunities for cooperation and investment in pharmaceuticals in Vietnam.

Medicine demand in Vietnam is on the rise in recent years, he said, adding that each Vietnamese spends around 64 USD on pharmaceuticals annually and the Vietnamese market size has exceeded 6.5 billion USD.

Vietnam is calling investment in developing domestic production of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to improve people’s living standards, so there are large room for the two countries to step up cooperation and investment in the field, Thanh noted.

Hua Phu Doan, Vice Chairman of HCM City’s Medical Equipment Association said that population aging in Vietnam has resulted in increasing demand for medicine and advanced medical equipment serving the elderly.
Meanwhile, the local healthcare system has been poorly equipped with 70 percent of hospitals without CT scanners, 35 percent of medical equipment used for more than 20 years and 40 percent of them used between 10 and 20 years.

He also cited the fact that most of medical equipment in Vietnam are imported as domestic production can only supply 1.5 – 2 percent of demand.

This provides big opportunities for foreign investors, including those from India, he said.

Pharmexcil Director Murall Krishna said India is the world’s third largest exporter of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment which provides up to 70 percent of vaccines to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Vietnam and India has seen strong partnerships in multiple areas, however, that in pharmaceuticals has failed to meet both sides’ potential, he said, noting that a large number of Indian producers in the field are looking for opportunities in Vietnam.

Vietnam – India trade and investment ties have been thriving in recent years with India ranking in Vietnam’s top 10 biggest trade partners while Vietnam is a key market in India’s Act East Policy.

Bilateral trade totaled 11.2 billion USD last year and over 7 billion USD in the first nine months of 2020, despite impacts of COVID-19./.