Healthcare in Vietnam – A Growing Market

Current market research conducted by the World Bank stipulated that the healthcare market of Vietnam will triple in growth between the years 2010 and 2020. The country’s government and its entire healthcare sector have pooled their resources and are in the process of making this prediction happen. In doing so, the Vietnamese health care market has overtaken that of its peers: Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Local pharmaceutical companies in Vietnam do not have a good or credible reputation among the locals, so the country relies heavily on medicine imports from other nations. This makes the country a good source for importation of healthcare products and services, naturally opening up a host of opportunities for other nations to penetrate their healthcare sector.

Opportunities in different sectors

Unlike other nations, foreign healthcare brands cannot directly sell into the Vietnam market. They need conduits such as importers or distributors to start business with the Vietnamese masses.

However, this doesn’t affect the opportunities available in the three sectors of Vietnam’s healthcare industry, namely: the public, the private and the consumer sectors.

Here are the specific opportunities:

  • The Ministry of Health has decided to put up more hospitals for the public sector and reduce the load on central hospitals. In Ho Chi Minh, 24 hospitals will be upgraded to accommodate more patients and avoid further overload.
  • Modern general hospitals for the private sector will be opening up new branches. The Vinmec hospital is currently building ten additional facilities – some of which will be catering to patients soon.
  • To avoid extra expenses, locals usually take advice from unlicensed pharmacists when choosing a medicine for trifling illnesses. Thus, 45% of the consumers will take over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for minor ailments as soon as symptoms emerge.
  • Market predictions say that by the year 2023, OTC sales are likely to reach USD 2.96 billion. Therefore, promotions and brand advertisements will be the defining point for pharmacies in the consumer sector due to the locals’ nationwide patronization of OTC drugs.

Keep these tips in mind

At present, medical equipment only requires an import license to get inside this country. Entrepreneurs need to cater to certain requirements, submit documents on time and pay the necessary costs to obtain this license.

However, by the year 2017, a new legislation will come into effect that will require a registration document before allowing medical equipment into the country.

This is one among the few changes that will need to be considered if entering the Vietnamese health care market.

Here are a few more tips in establishing a business here:

  • Do extensive market research on Vietnam’s healthcare sector so that you can understand their culture and consumer demands
  • Establishing a long-term vision in this market.
  • Be patient and persevere in every ordeal you’ll have to face.
  • Hire the best people – opt for global competence and professional attitudes.
  • Adopt an effective strategy when it comes to cost
  • Focus on business objectives and study negotiation techniques.
  • Be thorough when screening for future joint ventures in Vietnam. Look for the right partner.

Registration of your medical related products may take time. Also due to Vietnam’s strict regulations on distribution, selling your products through agents may not be efficient as expected. Nonetheless, the industry is a promising one that welcomes investment and foreign participation.

For further information on the benefits of setting up a healthcare business in Vietnam, focus on market research for the best entry and consolidation strategies to participate in this sector.


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