Reforms for Vietnam’s Pharmaceutical Market

At a recent Vietnam pharmaceutical industry meeting, healthy ministry officials stated that drug regulations needed to be ramped up and drug prices regulated more strictly.

Vietnam’s pharmaceutical companies mostly manufacture generic products for simple illnesses. Many specialized drugs such as HIV and cancer prevention drugs are imported and sometimes illegally smuggled into the country. The Drug Administration of Vietnam found that almost 0.2 percent of drugs on the market were fake, higher than the year before in 2006. In addition, random drug samples revealed that a little more than 3 percent of test drugs did not comply with safety standards.

At the industry meeting, recommendations were raised to increase investment in local drug production. Health minister officials also hope to more strictly manage drug quality and price. One suggestion was to post drug prices online for easy reference and enforcement of pricings. Other plans to improve the local pharmaceutical industry included establishing zone area for growing raw materials for drugs and having the Ministry of Health work with the Ministry of Education and Training to create a qualified human resource pool for this sector. The Ministry of Health also plans to set up research facilities for biotech products and vaccines.