According to investors, Vietnam is an attractive pharmaceutical market with an average medicine consumption of 2017 reaching US$56 per capita. Meanwhile, in 2015, the medicine consumption per capita was put at US$38.
Given the fast growth, numerous investors have jumped into the market to cash in on opportunities here.
In particular, Vingroup officially entered the domestic medicine market by launching a project with the brand name of Vinfa in early April. The group sets aside VND2,200 billion as investment capital for the project, focusing on oriental drug research, manufacture, trading and export-import. Vinfa also aims to preserve and develop traditional medicinal herbs, especially rare ones, in Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the Medical Import-Export Joint Stock Corporation (Domesco) is investing in the sector by picking Digiworld as a distributor for its functional food products.
Moreover, foreign enterprises have lately been competing to acquire stakes in leading Vietnamese pharmaceutical companies such as Traphaco and Domesco.
For example, Abbott has acquired a 51.69% stake in Domesco, having completed procedures for a buyout of Glomed in August 2016. Another deal was by the Japanese Taisho Corporation becoming a major shareholder in DHG Pharma with a stake of 24.4%.
Some retailers have declared to join the medicine distribution sector, including Mobile World Joint Stock Company, Digiworld and Nguyen Kim Joint Stock Company.
A 2017 evaluation of the EU and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) shows Vietnam has spent much money importing medicines and pharmaceutical ingredients for local consumption, meaning the market still has much room for those investors wanting to set up shop in the country. According to the evaluation, Vietnam spends as much as US$2 billion per year on medicinal imports.
Meanwhile, the country’s medicine export revenue totaled only US$113 million last year.