A Vietnamese spends VND1.3 million or US$56 on medicines on average this year and the amount may increase to US$85 in 2020 and US$163 after five years, Tuoi Tre newspaper reports.

The local pharmaceutical sector’s revenue is estimated at US$5.2 billion this year, up 10% versus last year, according to a report released on Monday by Vietnam Report Joint Stock Company.

The report also showed that average drug spending per capita in Vietnam increased from US$9.85 in 2005 to US$22.25 in 2010 and US$37.97 in 2015. Annual spending growth was 14.6% in the 2010-2015 period and will stay at a minimum 14% until 2025.

Vietnam’s pharmaceutical sector has attracted many foreign investors including multinational groups and domestic enterprises operating in other sectors.

Vietnam Report forecast the sector would change considerably next year with the participation of giant retailers and distributors such as The Gioi Di Dong, FPT Retail, Digiworld and Nguyen Kim. Besides, foreign pharmaceutical groups such as Sanofi, Taisho and Abbott will penetrate into the Vietnamese market, putting pressure on local firms.

Regarding difficulties encountered by the sector, more than 90% of enterprises participating in a survey of Vietnam Report said that procedures for bidding to supply drugs for hospitals and the dependence on imported materials are the biggest obstacles.

Some 90% of pharmaceutical materials must be imported, mainly from China and India, according to the survey.

Most pharmaceutical companies can produce generic drugs which are of low value and poor competitiveness due to a lack of capital and high-skilled workers.

According to drugstores and pharmacists, Vietnamese patients prefer imported to domestic drugs despite their same quality.

Source: thesaigontimes.vn