The Vietnamese retail drug market is registering an increase in the number of modern drugstores, which are capturing the attention of foreign investors.
The majority of new drugstores them belong to the three largest chains: Pharmacity, Long Chau (FPT Retail), and An Khang (Mobile World Group – MWG). Also, new players are also entering the market, sich as Viettel Group and Wincommerce of Masan Group.
Pharmacity, the market leader with more than 1,100 stores, intends to open 5,000 more stores by 2025. MWG, currently having more than 600 outlets, expects to have 800 locations by 2022 and 2,000 locations by 2023. Purchased by FPT Retail, Long Chau expanded quickly and plans to add 3,000 new outlets within the next 5 years.
There are several reasons that contribute to drug retail chains’ recent rapid network expansion. First, the government has enforced stricter regulations on drug retailers. This resulted in small and independent drugstores becoming less competitive and some having to shut down. Modern pharmacies are also able to gain market shares from smaller retailers because of e-prescriptions. By the end of 2022, Level 1-3 hospitals will be required to use electronic bills, according to the Ministry of Health. For other hospitals, the deadline is June 30, 2023. In addition, Vietnamese consumers have become more interested in taking nutritional supplements and supporting medications in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
IBM anticipates that Vietnam’s drug market might reach USD 16 billion by 2026, because of higher medical insurance coverage, higher average life expectancy, and an aging population. It is also predicted that the medicine retail sector will witness the entry of major players like Digiworld (behind Dai Tin Pharma) and Bamboo Capital (Tipharco).