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Drug sector looks for high   2010-08-07 - VIR

Domestic and foreign investors are being called for medicine production paving the way for Vietnam’s drug production sector development.




The Ministry of Health (MoH) is calling for domestic and foreign investors to back eight medicine projects. Those include two projects to produce antibiotic materials- one with Mekophar and one worth $70 million with Ampharco USA.

Others are a packing project with Vipaco and Tan Thanh Phat Company, natural compound extraction with VCP Company, vaccine production with Vabiotech Company and a project for medical equipment production

Cao Minh Quang, Deputy Minister of Health, said foreign investment in the sector was limited as 90 per cent of production materials were imported and pharmaceutical production required large volumes of investment.

The MoH is compiling a detailed Vietnam pharmaceutical industry zoning plan to 2015 with a vision to 2020 focusing on zoning, allocating pharmaceutical factories toward specification and encouraging generic medicine production to reduce local market product prices.

“We will target domestic medicine production to meet 70 per cent of demand by 2015 and 80 per cent by 2020,” said Quang. EuroCham in Vietnam reported that Vietnam had made good progress in the clarity and quality of registration process for drug production.

However, a fast track registration process for medicines answering urgent needs could be considered and general pharmacy practice standard applications for retail pharmacies should be executed by 2011.

“Since January 2009, in line with the World Trade Organization agreement, 100 per cent foreign-owned pharmaceutical companies can be set up. However, the limited scope of licenced activity is still restricting foreign investments and granting import rights to pharmacy companies to allow accelerated investment in foreign-invested enterprises in Vietnam,” said a EuroCham official.

Keshav Dayalani, vice chairman of the Indian Business Chamber (Incham), said Vietnam should encourage hi-tech products, export incentives and develop infrastructure for drug development. “Our proposals for investment in Vietnam are a move from mass selling to quality production, set up high-end ailments and growth of specialised segments,” said Dayalani.

The country reportedly had 39 pharmaceutical foreign-invested projects by the end of 2009 including 26 operating projects with total registered capital of $302.6 million. Of these 23 projects are medicine production while others focus on medicine maintenance.

Foreign-invested factories’ production value accounted for 28 per cent of the country’s total medicine production. However, there are no foreign-invested projects in pharmaceutical chemistry and drug materials.

“We are asking the government to supplement packing production, medicines and natural compound extraction in the list of projects enjoying special incentives of investment in Vietnam,” said Quang.

Domestic medicine production met just nearly half of demand in Vietnam. The drug consumption per capita of Vietnam was $19.7 in 2009, a year-on-year increase of 20.1 per cent. The IMS Meridian Research Vietnam forecast drug consumption per capita in Vietnam will double after five years and the medicine production value in Vietnam will reach $1.9 billion in 2011 from $1.6 billion this year and $1.1 billion in 2009. 

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