Updated on 29 April 2014
The Vietnam pharmaceutical market grew nearly 17 percent last year, valuing over $3 billion
Singapore: The Vietnam pharmaceutical market grew nearly 17 percent last year, valuing over $3 billion.
A new study by Decision Resources predicted that the market will grow a further 20 percent by 2017. "Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia's fastest-growing pharma markets, with demand for prescription medicines being fuelled by a range of drivers including increasing affluence, a rapidly-aging population and the steady extension of public health insurance," the study said.
It added, Vietnam has set the goal of achieving universal health coverage by 2015, which is ambitious given that over 30 percent of the population still has no form of public health insurance and that private health expenditure remains high at 57 percent of the country's total health spending.
"Drug prices are comparatively high, at 12 times above the level of international reference prices. And difficulties in containing prices are exacerbated by a fragmented healthcare system, a decentralised medicines procurement process and heavy dependence on imported drugs," the study explained further.
Moreover, negotiations to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement - currently ongoing between the US, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam - have caused concern among government officials and experts because agreeing to TPP proposals may constrain the country's ability to curb rising drug costs.