A dengue fever forecasting Model Satellite-based system (D-MOSS) was launched in Hanoi in March 2019. The early warning system created by D-MOSS is being piloted in Hanoi, Dak Lak, Khanh Hoa and Dong Nai. The project aims to develop tools which allows the government and public health authorities to: issue alerts for dengue, so that relevant agencies and communities can take appropriate actions to mitigate the impacts and damages caused by dengue outbreaks; and provide assessment of vector-borne disease risks under future climate and land-use chage scenarios. Vietnam witnessed a surge in dengue cases in 2017 experiencing over 170,000 cases of infection across the country.
The system will take into account water supplies and precipitation that directly affect mosquito breeding sites along with other variables such as the number of dengue cases, land use and temperature.
The project is funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme, and developed with joint efforts of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and a consortium led by HR Wallingford, a civil engineering and environmental hydraulics organisation created by the UK Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. The consortium comprises HR Wallingford, UNDP, WHO, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Met Office and Oxford Policy Management in the UK, Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change of the Viet Nam Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Pasteur Institute Ho Chi Minh City and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health. The International Partnership Programme is a five-year, GBP 152 million (USD 200 million) programme designed to partner UK space expertise with overseas governments and organizations to deliver sustainable, economic or societal benefits.
(Sources: Vietnam News; United Nations Development Programme)
Nhan Dan 115 hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam has successfully carried out the surgery on February 15 by Doctor Si and his colleagues, with the support of the vice president of Aurora Health Care (USA).
The patient was a 67 year old woman hospitalized with a headache, dysarthria and weakness in her right limbs. An MRI scan revealed a small tumor in the left cerebral hemisphere about 2 cm wide close to the cortex which affected her speech and mobility. Because of the size and placement of the tumor, normal surgery could have resulted in complications caused by damage to the nervous system.
Therefore, Doctor Si, the head of the neurology department and his colleagues decided to use the Modus V Synaptive robot system. This system was brought over from the US in 2018. The Modus V immediately captures part of the patient’s body using MRI, after which it instructs surgeons during the operation.
After 1.5 hrs of surgery, the tumor was successfully removed, signaling the first robot-assisted brain surgery in Asia. If the surgery would have been performed with microsurgery glasses without the robot, the procedure would have lasted around four hours.
Robotically assisted brain surgery is commonly used in countries such as the US, Australia and Canada. The technology allows doctors to perform difficult procedures with more precision, control and flexibility than traditional techniques.More robotically assisted brain surgeries are expected to occur in the hospital and other infirmaries in Vietnam. The technique is likely to be approved by health insurance providers to improve patient treatment quality.
(Source: Vietnam News)
The Vietnam Ministry of Health (MOH) issued Decree No. 169/2018/ND-CP on 31 December, 2018 amending and supplementing some articles of Decree No.36 on Medical Device Management. The changes, which have taken effect on January 01, 2019, affect the below:
• Explaination of the definition of medical device;
• Classification of medical device;
• Conditions of establishments that classify, produce and trade medical device;
• Procedures for declaration, registration for circulation and importation of medical device;
• Activities of inspection and calibration of device;
• Management and use of medical device in medical facilities;
• Organization of implementation.
Decree 36 has been reported by foreign and local industry associations to cause some difficulties for business activities, including overlapping regulations and cumbersome administrative procedures, costing time and money for businesses and other stakeholders. Decree 169 aims to fix the faults and simplify business conditions for entrprises operating in the market.
(Source: Department of Medical Equipment and Construction)
To achieve the goal of improving the quality of community health and initiating the establishment of a health ecosystem in the city of Da Nang, a Health Alliance named HM Group (HMG) was officially launched on November 14th, 2018, with initial participation of 5 members: Homecares, iKure, INNOTEK, Job Links and AT Group. The alliance aims to serve up to 500,000 patients by 2020 and boosting information technology and human resources for hospitals and clinics.
The focus of this project is to connect patients with the right doctors though an application that be be accessed to even from remote areas. Patients now do not have to see doctors in the hospitals but get connected with medical centres near their homes instead. The alliance will also provide testing service from home, which mobile health workers will collect blood samples or medical waste from patient’s homes for testing in laboratories. This application will also help to ease the overloading at public hospitals as due to the new regulation efective from 2025 that each doctor will only be allowed to examine 25 patients per day.
There are curently 11 hospitals with 1,000 doctors, and more than 620 consulting rooms and medical care centres in Da Nang. The city's population is around one million; however, 70% of inpatients are from neighboring provinces in central regions.
(Sources: Vietnam News)
Vietnam's Prime Miniter has aproved HCMC's budget to build new facilities at three regional general hospitals in the city to meet increasing demand for health examination and treatment. According to the plan, the city's authority will will allocate more than VND 5.6 trillion (USD 240 million) for Thủ Đức, Hóc Môn and Củ Chi regional general hospitals. These hospitals will have a total of 1,000 more beds, 500 of which are for inpatients. The construction will begin this year and is expected to finish by 2023.
The investment will go to new, modern medical equipment and facilities which meet the standards of ASEAN in order to attract patients in the suburb areas of the city and to reduce stress on large national and city-level hospitals.
Along with the new facilities, the health department of the city has also increased enrollment quotas for Phạm Ngọc Thạch University of Medicine so that enough staff can be hired for hospitals, district health centres, and commune and ward health stations. More than 600 doctors graduating this year will work at these hospitals when they open. Doctor at city-level hospitals are sent temporarily to district-level hospitals to work for a period of six months to one year and help with training.
(Source: Vietnam News)
A portal for pharmacies throughout Vietnam was officially launched on August 24, as an attempt to ensure the quality of drugs sold on the market and keep prices in check. With this platform, users can easily look up the use, price and origins of available drugs, as well as receive updated warnings from health authorities about medicines of questionable quality.
This was done under a government initiative to strengthen management of prescriptions and sale of prescription drugs between 2017 and 2020. The government is preparing to enforce all drug stores to connect to a common network. Those who deliberately fail to follow this regulation might even have their license voided. Around 72% percent of all drug stores in the country have internet access, but only 48% are managing sales through software platforms.
The piloting project has started with selected provinces – namely Phu Tho, Hung Yen, Vinh Phuc and Nam Dinh. Out of nearly 62,000 pharmacies in Vietnam, around 4,200 are current participating in the portal.
This aims to adddress issues such as high antibiotic resistance in the country due to sale and purchase of medicines without prescriptions and middlemen in the drug supply chain inflating prices and making it difficult to trace product origins.
The Ministry of Health in Vietnam is drafting a circular on a pilot programme for electronic medical records in order to save time and money for both doctors and patients. Such a system will also reduce handwriting errors and solve the the problem of lost or misplaced patient files.
The draft circular is expected to be issued this year and it would take effect at the beginning of next year. The electronic medical records (EMR) system already had a soft pilot at several hospitals including the National Children’s Hospital and the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Hà Tĩnh General Hospital. It would be expanded to all healthcare facilities across the country by 2020.
Under the draft circular, the electronic medical records (EMR) are a digitalised version of the old paper records and they have the same function as described in the Law on Medical Examination and Treatment. Each citizen has an electronic medical record which will be monitored and stored over their lifetime.
(Source: Viet Nam News)
Fees for about 88 healthcare services in Vietnam have been lowered by the country's Ministry of Health (MOH), starting mid-July. The reduction in fees ranges from 5% to 24% compared to the rates issued in 2015.
Medical checkup fees decreased by 15-20%, or about VND 4,800 to VND 5,900 (USD 0.21 to USD 0.26), at hospitals and clinics nationwide. A medical checkup at a special-level hospital now costs VND 33,100 (USD 1.4), down from the previous VND 39,000 (USD 1.7), while the fee at a second-level hospital has lowered from VND 35,000 to VND 29,600.
In addition, bed fees also saw a 2% to 10% reduction, depending on the hospital class. For example, prices for hospital beds dropped from VND 632,200 (USD 27.8) to VND 615,600 (USD 27.1) per day in level-1 hospitals. Prices of beds in the emergency unit of level-4 hospitals has went down from VND 226,000 (USD 9.94) to VND 221,200 (USD 9.73). However, beds for patients who are in intensive care departments or those undergoing organ transplant or stem cell transplant procedures have slightly increased to VND 687,100 (USD 30) from VND677,100 (USD 29.60) per day.
Other services will see a sharp reduction in fees, such as tonsilitis surgery, whose rates will fall to VND 2 million (USD 87) from VND 3.6 million (USD157).
The MOH also limited the fixed number of patients in each examination room to 65 per day. If any clinic or hospital exceeds this number, a medical insurance agency will be required to pay only 50% of examination fees.
This adjustment is expected to help health insurance funds become more sustainable. Around 87% of the population was covered by health insurance by the end of June, according to the Vietnam Social Security (VSS).
(Sources: Viet Nam News; VIETNAMNET Bridge)
Driven by a new government policy for transparent bidding, which aims to lower drug prices, requests for bidding of medicines and medical equipment in HCM City has incBeen increasing. Some of the recent bidding requests are:
According to the Ministry of Health (MoH), drug bidding is being conducted at three levels in the country - national, provincial and hospital. This year the MoH will open a national centralised bidding for 30 of the most commonly used drugs. It will also extend the list of drugs eligible to be bid at the provincial level. Additionally, the MoH will negotiate prices of eight types of highly used patented medicines.
To win the bid, aside from offering a competitive price, contractors have to prove their capability and experience, including the number of contracts they have signed, experience in production and business, and their financial capacity. They must also ensure many criteria, including Good Storage Practice (GSP), Good Distribution Practice (GDP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).
(Source: Viet Nam News)
An agreement was signed between the Hanoi-based K Hospital and Japan’s National Cancer Center (NCC) in mid-April, for the promotion of collaboration between the two sides in the treatment of cancer.
Specifically, the agreement focuses on training for the most advanced techniques in cancer prevention and treatment, such as proton beam and heavy ion radiotherapies, to prepare for the implementation of these methods at K Hospital in the near future. Both parties also agreed on the exchange of patients between Vietnam and Japan to improve the effectiveness of cancer treatment.
In 2017, state-owned K Hospital put into operation Vietnam’s most advanced cancer treatment technology, a multi-energy accelerator and hi-tech PET-CT system, which is one of the most modern medical equipment systems for cancer treatment in the world .
The NCC, founded in 1962, is the first hospital in Japan and the second in the world to be equipped with a proton therapy system. The centre is recognised as a leader in the field of hi-tech cancer treatment in Japan and throughout the region.
(Sources: Nhan Dan Online, Vietnam Television Online Newspaper)
Russia's Centre of Corporate Medicine (CCM) and Vietnam’s Dr. Binh Tele Clinic have reached a strategic partnership agreement to promote cooperation in the field of telehealth. Specifically, CCM will provide services in emergency first aid, remote health care, chronic disease management, and prevention of occupational and malignant diseases. The agreement aims to provide high efficiency healthcare for labourers in enterprises, especially in the field of chronic disease management and prevention of malignant and occupational diseases emerging due to toxic environments.
The online medical centre TeleHealth 24/7 in Hanoi will be synchronously connected with the Central Call Centre in Russia, ensuring the connection and coordination among 43 medical facilities in six countries for the provision of professional health services, emergency medical rescue, and patient transfer at home and abroad.
CCM owns 42 medical examination and treatment facilities and five representative offices in Russia and other countries around the world. It has also set up clinics and offices in two of Vietnam's provinces. Meanwhile, the Hanoi-based Dr. Binh Tele Clinic has pioneered the application of 4.0 technologies in Vietnam to facilitate its activities.
(Source: Nhan Dan (People) Newspaper)
With the aim of reducing overcrowding in hospitals and improve healthcare services in Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh City government is expected to complete construction and put into operation later in 2018 four hospitals. These hospitals will have 3,500 beds combined and will be equipped with modern equipment. The particular government units in-charge of the project are:
Furthermore, between 2016 to 2020, the capital from government bonds will be used for building eight central-level hospitals and general hospitals in the provinces of Sơn La, Bình Phước, Tiền Giang, Trà Vinh, Đồng Tháp and Kiên Giang.
(Source: Viet Nam News)
One of the leading healthcare systems in the US, Sanford Health, has recently signed an agreement with Victoria Healthcare (VHC) in Vietnam. Sanford Health, through its subsidiary Sanford World Clinic (SWC), will provide support to enhance clinical and healthcare management education programs for VHC's physicians, nurses, and administrative staff.
This is a new step forward for Vietnam’s healthcare sector and will help address Vietnam's shortage of qualified medical staff. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, due to the low quality of service in the country, around 30,000 Vietnamese people go abroad for higher quality treatment. This group spends approximately USD 2 billion every year out of pocket, an indication that domestic healthcare needs drastic improvement. In addition, according to local industry experts, even if Vietnam builds new hospitals and clinics, many Vietnamese still go to old and crowded facilities because the new ones tend to have new and less experienced staff.
VHC has been operating for more than 12 years in Vietnam and has opened four branches in Ho Chi Minh City that serves more than 1.5 million patients. Meanwhile, Sanford Healthcare is a leading healthcare organization in the US, with 45 hospitals and 300 clinics in nine states. Its international branch, SWC, has branches in Ghana, Germany, and China, and has more than 1,500 doctors and 29,000 employees in total.
(Sources: Vietnam Economic Times; Export.gov)
As Vietnam generally relies on import of pharmaceutical products, especially high-tech products and active pharmaceutical ingredients, the country's imports for this category have increased consistently in recent years. From 2014 to 2017, Vietnam's pharmaceutical imports rose from VND 46 trillion (USD 2.035 billion) to VND 64 trillion (USD 2.82 billion), a sharp increase of 40%. Furthermore, it is expected that this value will exceed VND 68 trillion (USD3 billion) by the end of 2018.
The biggest pharmaceutical suppliers to Vietnam are France, Germany, and India. It is interesting to note that imports from India increased rapidly to 40 times the volume of the same period in 2016.
Also riding high on this trend is local retail drugstore chain Pharmacity, which plans to open 500 stores by 2023. Just recently, it has opened a couple more stores in Ho Chi Minh City, expanding its network to 71 to become the largest pharmaceutical store chain in Vietnam.
While Vietnam’s healthcare industry is still developing, it is one of the fastest growing markets in the global healthcare industry.
(Sources: Vietnam Business News – The Economic Mirror Of Indochina; Vietnam Pharmaceutical Market by Kevin Tran (LinkedIn))
Cho Ray hospital, the largest national public hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, has been awarded the Six Sigma certification under the US Westgard Sigma Verification of Performance (VP) Program. The Six Sigma test certificate is awarded to laboratories, for which errors in test results must be minimal, with less than four errors in a million occurrences. Cho Ray Hospital is the first public hospital in Vietnam to achieve this certification.
The certification has been awarded to the Testing Unit of the Oncology Center in Cho Ray hospital, which is seeing demand for its services grow due to increasing number of patients. With the help of the automated testing system operated at the center since mid-2016, the workflow has been shortened by 50%, while time taken to obtain test results have been reduced from 1 hour to 30 minutes for each test. The system also has a fast conveyor, which operates at the rate of 3,600 samples per hour. Given the improvement in the quality of its services, Cho Ray hospital is planning to replicate the Six Sigma application model in other testing units to synchronise the quality of testing at the facility.
(Sources: NhanDan; Vietnam Investment Review)
Siemens Healthcare Ltd and Vietnam Japan Medical High-Tech Development JSC (VijaMetech) have inked an MoU to foster co-operation in the healthcare sector. VijaMetech finances the Vietnam-Japan International K Hospital, a 100% locally-owned oncology specialized hospital that operates in close collaboration with the oncology hospital network in Vietnam as well as worldwide. This hospital forms a part of VijaMetech’s ambitious plan to develop a network of oncology screening, diagnostics and treatment centers across Vietnam according to international standards. The hospital is invested to meet internationally quality requirements and equipped with a range of the most advanced equipment in order to support the diagnostic, treatment and care for cancer patients, as well as to support highly efficient research and training in oncology.
Under the agreement, Siemens Healthcare Ltd. will provide a spectrum of solutions for Vietnam-Japan International K Hospital projects ranging from medical imaging and laboratory diagnostics, CT simulation in radiation therapy to value added management services such as consulting and healthcare IT services, as well as state-of-the-art technologies for therapeutic and molecular diagnostics. Siemens Healthcare will support VijaMetech in technology transfer, strategic advisory, clinical and workflow advisory, education & training, clinical studies, marketing, and in the development of the oncology center network.
The cooperation with Siemens Healthcare will enable Vietnam-Japan International K Hospital to be one of the leading centres in screening, early detection and treatment of oncology in Vietnam, and to help make VijaMetech’s afore-mentioned plan become a reality.
(Source: Vietnam Economic News - Ministry of Trade & Industry, Vietnam)
The Health Department of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho has signed contracts with a joint venture of five contractors to begin construction of the Can Tho Oncology Hospital. The 500-bed hospital will be built by Hungary’s MAGYAR and VMD, Vietnam’s Bach Dang Construction Corporation, Consultant and Inspection Joint Stock Company of Construction Technology and Equipment (CONINCO) and Japan’s AZUSA. It will cost nearly USD 79.2 million, including nearly USD 61 million of official development assistance provided by Hungary’s government. The hospital aims to provide services for locals and the Mekong Delta region. It will be equipped with advanced equipment and technology, serving the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. The 500-bed hospital will have four main facilities that will occupy 44,500 square meters of the property, while 18,800 square meters will be allotted to other supporting works of the hospital.
(Source: Vietnam News)
The medical equipment market in Vietnam is expected to grow to USD 1.4 billion in value by 2018. With nearly 90% products imported, more foreign companies are thriving towards medical equipment supply for hospital facilities to cash in on this profitable market. This was revealed at the recently held 10th Vietnam International Dental Exhibition and Congress (VIDEC 10) in Hanoi. The event was attended by foreign medical equipment and biotech companies that are seeking Vietnamese distribution partners or opportunities to supply medical equipment to local hospitals and healthcare facilities. The majority of the medical equipment supplied to Vietnam are from Japan, USA, Singapore, China, and Germany, accounting for 55% of Vietnam's imports.
International pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers consider Vietnam to be an attractive investment destination. One of Japan’s biggest prescription drug contract manufacturers, Nipro Pharma Corporation, is expanding its medical equipment production with a new project in Saigon Hi-Tech Park, while European pharmaceutical giants Sanofi and B. Braun have plans to expand their production in Vietnam. Increasingly, companies such as Terumo, Sonion and United Healthcare are shifting their factories to Vietnam to take advantage of cheap labor and support policies from the Government.
(Sources: Vietnam Investment Review; Bao Dau Tu)
The 24th Vietnam Medi Pharm Expo held in August has attracted around 250 exhibitors from more than 20 countries, showcasing high-tech medical products from Japan, pharmaceutical and experimental devices from India, cosmetic surgery equipment from South Korea, and laser and biological technologies from Singapore.
According to the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham), Vietnam’s medical equipment market is currently estimated to be worth VND 10.6 trillion (USD 465.4 million) and is expected to grow to VND 32 trillion (USD 1.4 billion) by 2018. Due to its developing economy, incomes are increasing, leading to higher demand for healthcare and modern medical equipment.
According to analyses from enterprises in the field of medical equipment production in Ho Chi Minh City, with development and expansion plans for hospitals and medical facilities in many localities, the potential for investment is enormous. Investment in upgrading medical equipment at hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City alone over the next three years is in the order of VND 20.6 trillion (USD 900 million) to VND 22.9 trillion (USD 1 billion). According to the Ministry of Health (MoH), the proportion of imports in the market now stands at about 90%. Major suppliers are from Japan, Germany, the US, China, and Singapore, which together account for 55%, while investment in hi-tech medical equipment is concentrated mainly in big hospitals in major cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hue, Da Nang, and Can Tho.
(Source: Vietnam Medi Pharm Expo 2017)
The Vietnamese government is aiming for 90% of its population to be covered by health insurance by 2020. Vietnam has made a significant progress in this area as the percentage of Vietnam's population that had medical insurance in 1995 was only at 10% and it snowballed to 82% in recent years. The government, together with Vietnam Social Insurance, is carrying out measures to raise people’s awareness and improve mechanisms to make it easier for Vietnamese to sign up for health insurance. To encourage more sign-ups, the Vietnamese government announced that over 1,900 medical services in public hospitals will increase its fees for patients without health insurance starting June 2017.
(Sources: Vietnam News, Vietnam Net)
Asia has become an increasingly popular destination for medical tourism and Vietnam feels that there is a great potential growth for this market. Despite the fact that the country currently accounts for only a small proportion of the total medical tourism market, it has seen a consistent increase in the number of foreign patients in Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology, Cho Ray Hospital and FV Hospital. Dental care, cosmetic surgeries, cardiology, traditional medicine and acupuncture, and artificial insemination are some of the medical services that many foreigners are interested in.
The Department of Tourism has signed an agreement with the Department of Health to collaborate on the development of medical tourism in the country. They will focus on services such as dental treatment, traditional medicine, cosmetic surgery, general health consultation and check-ups, and diagnosis of certain diseases such as heart diseases and cancer.
(Sources: Vietnam Tourism, Vietnam Net Bridge)
There is a postpone to the commencement month in June for the hike of the medical service as stated by the Health Ministry. The hike will be implemented from August 14 for Hanoi and 29 provinces. Ho Chi Minh City and 14 other provinces will start from October while the remaining 18 provinces in December.
The current situation is that the state is providing price cuts to people with financial means but do not have the national health insurance. The price hike is targeted at the 20% country’s population who do not have insurance. The listed medical services rates are to ensure equality between the insured and uninsured but provinces are able to implement at a lower pricing scheme.
(Sources: Vietnam Breaking News, Vietnam News)
Starting June 2017, the medical services fees will increase sharply and this will affect those people without insurance. The increase in medical service fees is to encourage people to enrol for the state-sponsored health insurance programme as Vietnam is aiming for a universal healthcare coverage. Over 80% of Vietnam population has insurance and only 20% are uninsured, most of whom have above average living standards.
The price for services like cosmetic services, denture replacements, hearing aids, myopia and other refractive eye problems, however, will be indifferent for both insured and no insured patients.
(Sources: Vietnamnet Bridge, Vietnam News)
According to the UN Population Fund (UNPFA) report in 2016, Vietnam’s aging population will rise sharply in the coming decades. Traditionally, the elderlies are being cared within the family. In addition, the country’s formal health care support for the elderly is not sufficient as there is only one state-owned hospital in Hanoi that caters to the needs of the elderlies.
The government has implemented a family medical practice model on trial basis from 2013 through 2016, to increase network of formal health care support for the elderlies. However the model shows more challenges as there is a shortage of trained professionals in Vietnam.
The government is seeking private sectors to design health cares and this in one of the sectors that is open to foreign investment in January 2016. According to health analytic firm IHS Markit Life Sciences, healthcare spending and pharmaceutical sales will grow over the years.
(Sources: Vietnamnet Bridge, Oxford Business Group)
Vietnam plans to spend VND 5 trillion to digitize its healthcare systems in electronic medical records. The system which is designed to store personal medical records for all citizens will be built and operated by the welfare agency Vietnam Social Security. With the system, all healthcare registries in all cities and provinces will be synced for easy access to save time and money.
(Sources: VN Express International, Vietnam Investment Review)
Upon successful acquisition of Astra Women’s Specialist group of clinics in December 2016, SMG becomes one of Singapore’s largest private specialist chains for women’s health and wellness. Following, Singapore Medical Group (SMG) will invest in USD 16 million for a share no less than 32% in City Clinic Asia Investment (CCAI) who owns 100% foreign investor license for healthcare operations in Vietnam and more stakes may be involved in the next 12 months upon achieving milestones.
With investments through CCAI, SMG will gain access to Careplus Clinic Vietnam, a clinic fully owned by CCVN. Careplus Clinic Vietnam is a 15,000 square feet healthcare specialists in Tan Binh District of Ho Chi Minh City, focusing on health screening, women’s health, pediatrics and diagnostic imaging. SMG will provide training to CCVN in terms of marketing and also arrange quarterly seminars.
(Sources: Healthcare Asia, NExt Insight, The Business Times Invest)
The National Assembly of Vietnam updated the Law on Pharmacy, which will take effect on January 1, 2017. This version aims to keep Vietnam’s pharmaceutical laws in line with international standards. Highlights include the following:
● Removing the Five-Year Rule for Clinical Trials: Under the new law, the clinical trial requirement will be waived for all new drugs, except vaccines. In lieu of clinical trials, drug manufacturers must have sufficient safety and efficiency clinical data, and have circulated in at least one country.
● Expanding Retail of OTC Drugs: OTC drugs can be sold in businesses that do not have a certificate of eligibility for pharmaceutical business under the new Law on Pharmacy. This includes establishments that have drug counters or cabinets.
● Acknowledging Patient Assistance Programs: Pharmaceutical companies are permitted to provide free drugs through patient assistance programs to health establishments under the new laws. Currently, Vietnam prohibits drug promotional activities targeting patients under the old laws.
Other areas include:
● Recognizing Clinical Pharmacology
● Permitting Parallel Imports
● Incentivizing Local Manufacturing
Overall, these changes will have a great impact on both patients and pharmaceutical companies by providing faster access to patients, and increase domestic production.
(Sources: Pacific Bridge Medical, Vietnam News)
Vietnam has approximately 300 local drugmakers that account for more than 85% of market volume. However, imported pharmaceuticals have a total market share of 60-70%. The majority of Vietnam's local drugmakers are small-scale and in need of R&D investment with limited resources. While the Vietnamese government has been striving to wean domestic firms off imported raw materials, pharmaceutical imports to Vietnam continue to grow as demand for healthcare outstrips the rate of progress in homegrown R&D. Domestic pharmaceutical companies focus mainly on generic drugs, with very low expenditure on R&D. At present, the five leading pharmaceutical companies in Vietnam are Sanofi, Hau Giang Pharmaceuticals (DHG Pharmaceuticals), Imexpharm, Traphaco and Domesco.
According to research firm GlobalData, the pharmaceutical market in Vietnam will expand in value from USD 3.5 billion in 2015 to an estimated USD 6.6 billion by 2020. The main drivers of growth for the Vietnamese pharmaceutical market are increasing elderly population, widespread preference for imported branded drugs and rising government support for the healthcare sector.
(Source: Bio Spectrum Asia Edition)
The Vietnamese Ministry of Health has approved the clinical trial results of the combined measles and rubella (MR) vaccine produced by the ministry’s Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (POLYVAC). POLYVAC will soon complete all necessary procedures to apply for a marketing license so the vaccine can be provided within the Expanded Program on Immunization, which gives free vaccinations to Vietnamese children, tentatively beginning next year. This is the first MR vaccine to be successfully produced in Vietnam. The country is proud to be one of 25 countries around the world that can produce vaccines and is the fourth in Asia to manufacture the MR vaccine, following Japan, India, and China.
(Sources: Vietnam Net Bridge, Vietnam Investment Review)
Vietnamese patients are benefiting from both traditional and modern Western medicine treatments. The use of medical tests like X-rays with traditional medicine treatments is being used in many hospitals in Vietnam. According to the Vietnam’s Health Department’s report, the number of patients treated with traditional medicine only or a combination of Western and traditional medicine at district-level hospitals and health centers in 2015 increased by 6.2% compared to the figure in 2010.
For example, patients with cerebrovascular disease, are given traditional herbs to increase the circulation of blood to the brain, and physical therapy to help the patient move normally after a diagnosis based on modern tests by hospital doctors trained in Western medicine.
Besides public health facilities, private hospitals and foreign clinics are also using the traditional/modern medicine combination.
(Sources: Vietnam News, Vietnam Net Bridge)