In 2012, pharmaceutical prices rose 5.2 percent while CPI increased by 6.81 percent. Generally speaking, Vietnamese drug prices are fairly reasonable.
But the pharmaceutical sector is disappointed with many businesses suffering increasing pressure from foreign competitors.
Ensuring product quality and price
The sector currently has around 180 drug manufacturing businesses with a distribution channel comprising over 2,200 units and 43,000 retail stores. In recent years, they have tried to meet international drug manufacturing standards and practices (GMP) as well as regulations and requirements of the World Health Organisation. Vietnam has a list of 27 categories of pharmaceutical products including traditional medicines and new medicines designed for emergency treatment.
Vietnam-Sweden Uong Bi General Hospital Director Tran Viet Tiep says they are using 451 types of drugs, of which 205 (or 45.4 percent) are locally made. The prices of domestic drugs are rather reasonable and reliable in quality to help reduce the cost of medical treatment. Medical Insurance Department Head Tong Song Huong notes that there is an upward trend in the use of domestic drugs for medical treatment.
Encouraging the use of local-made drugs
According to a 2012 United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) survey, Vietnam’s drug manufacturing factories are operating at nearly 50 percent of capacity. Businesses and management agencies need to help the drug manufacturing sector develop in a sustainable manner for the health of the community.
The Ministry of Health’s Medical Service Administration Director Luong Ngoc Khue boasts that the “Vietnamese people using domestic drugs” campaign is gaining momentum. Local drugs account for 10 percent of total usage rates at central hospitals, over 40 percent at provincial hospitals and 50 percent at district health centres. Relevant agencies are joining hands to select drugs produced by Vietnamese pharmaceutical businesses which meet GMP standards.
Vietnam Pharmaceutical Companies Association Vice Chairman Nguyen Quy Son says the association has 122 major members producing 70 percent of total local drugs and enjoying a more than 70 percent share of the medicine distribution market. Many plan to invest in producing high-quality drugs at reasonable prices as required by the association.
He underscored the important role of pharmacies and doctors in building public trust in the use of domestic drugs for medical treatment.