Growing foreign investment in Vietnam’s pharmaceutical industry

After joining the WTO in January 2007, Vietnam has seen a sharp increase in foreign investment in its pharmaceutical industry. In 2007 alone, there were 58 new foreign businesses in this industry. Vietnam’s Ministry of Health reported that by the end of October 2007, there were a total of 370 licensed foreign companies involved in the production of drug products and APIs.

Locally-made drugs meet about 50 percent of demand, leaving the other 50 percent to imported products. In addition, public spending on drugs increased from $8 in 2004 to $13 in 2007. In 2007, Vietnam imported over $700 million worth of drugs and raw materials. Most imported medicines are more general products, such as anti-bacterial agents. Many Vietnamese companies are also dependent on imported raw materials. In fact, over $160 million was spent in 2007 on importing raw materials, an increase of 23 percent from 2006.

Vietnam has 180 pharmaceutical factories, 75 of which meet Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards. 25 of those 75 factories are foreign-invested.