Jan 22, 2021 / 17:56

Vietnam: potential market for India pharmaceuticals

Vietnam is currently among top 25 destinations for Indian pharmaceutical products.

The US$7-billion pharmaceutical market of Vietnam is a promising consumer of India which is known as the “Pharmacy of the World”.

 India  - "the Pharma of the World". Source: Embassy of India, Dublin

Vietnam’s pharmaceuticals demand is expected to grow 8% annually till 2024.

While Vietnamese drug manufacturers are able to meet half of their domestic demand, they depend on imports for approximately 60% of pharmaceutical end products, 90% of active pharmaceutical ingredients and most of the raw materials for the production of pharmaceuticals.

India is the largest producer of generic drugs, supplying more than 60% of global demand for various vaccines. Over 80% of the antiretroviral drugs used globally to combat HIV-AIDS are manufactured by Indian pharmaceutical firms.

The total size of the industry was estimated at around US$43 billion in 2019-2020 and is likely to reach US$55 billion in 2022. 

India has the advantage of a large raw material base, skilled workforce and increasing investment in research and development, that has enabled India to become a manufacturer of world-class medicines for its domestic consumption as well as overseas market.

Touching upon the importance of the pharmaceutical sector in trade and healthcare partnership between India and Vietnam, Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma urged businesses and all other stakeholders on both sides to explore new opportunities for promoting engagement in pharmaceutical sector.

 India's Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma. Photo: Embassy of India in Hanoi

Speaking at “India-Vietnam Seminar on Promotion of Trade and Investment in Pharmaceutical Sector” held in Hanoi on January 21, the ambassador pointed out several reasons for the promising cooperation.

Pharmaceuticals is a sector which occupies an important place in the bilateral trade relations between India and Vietnam.

Vietnam is a key consumer of Indian pharmaceuticals with an annual trade worth US$ 225 million. Vietnam is currently among top 25 destinations for Indian pharmaceutical products.

Notably, Mr Pranay Verma laid stress on the cooperation that has been duly recognized the “India-Vietnam Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and People” adopted by the Prime Ministers of India and Vietnam on 21 December 2020.

Their Joint Vision identifies deepening cooperation between the two countries in targeted areas including holistic healthcare, vaccines and pharmaceuticals as important elements of our future partnership over the coming years.

In addition, two countries remained engaged in augmenting their healthcare responses to the pandemic.

The third reason is the low-price and high-quality drugs and vaccines that India supplies to both developing and developed economies across the world.

India’s cheap and quality medicines have been particularly helpful for developing countries in meeting more effectively the burden of healthcare.

In fact, India’s pharmaceutical capabilities are not just for India, it is for the entire humanity to benefit from, he noted.

The ambassador also underlined India’s globally acknowledged capabilities as a producer of high-quality, low-cost medicines and vaccines as the fourth reason. India’s engagement was fully demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic as India became a major provider of pharmaceuticals to more than 150 countries.

He also highlighted India’s launch of the largest ever vaccination drive in the human history on January 16, 2021 to fight the Covid-19 pandemic with two “Made in India” vaccines.

In the first phase, 300 million high-priority people – which include sanitation and healthcare workers, elders, people with serious illnesses – who are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic are being given the vaccine shots.

The fifth reason is the engagement in pharmaceutical sector with Vietnam has remained at the forefront of the bilateral trade relations.

Many hospitals, doctors and people in Vietnam have shown their faith in Indian drugs and vaccines which are life-saving and so affordable.

“We should help nurture these supply lines, which are really the lifelines for those who need them; not stymie them with regulatory or procedural obstacles,” the ambassador stated.

The last but not least is Vietnam’s supportive policies in local manufacturing of drugs and medicines and in attracting investment in its pharma sector.

The ambassador believed that various Free Trade Agreements that Vietnam has signed will encourage its pharma companies to become more quality-oriented and competitive, to be the part of the global pharma supply chain.

 Penalists at the seminar. Photo: Embassy of India in Hanoi

At the seminar held by the Embassy of India in Hanoi in association with the International Investment Promotion Alliance (INVEST-GLOBAL), Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprise (VAFIE) and Indian Business Chamber (INCHAM), participants talked of the importance to take advantage of policies and incentives offered in India and Vietnam.

Views were expressed by the participants on the need for greater Indian investment in pharma sector in Vietnam and the need to enhance awareness in Vietnam of India’s strength as the leading manufacturer of pharmaceuticals.

In their remarks, Prof. Nguyen Mai from VAFIE as well as Dr. Doan Duy Khuong from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) emphasized the need to enhance the presence of Indian pharmaceutical companies in Vietnam, particularly through investment.

Representatives from Ministry of Finance as well as Ministry of Health provided details of incentives for investment in health sector, particularly high-tech projects, offered by Vietnam and upcoming new circulars that would further facilitate trade in pharmaceutical products for Vietnam.