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Vietnam's Pharmaceutical Market is Among the Fastest Growing in Southeast Asia, Driven by Increasing Affluence, an Aging Population, and an Expansion of Public Health Insurance

Companies mentioned in this article: Decision Resources Group

BURLINGTON, Mass., April 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources Group finds that Vietnam is currently one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical markets in Southeast Asia, recording a growth rate of nearly 17 percent and exceeding $3 billion in size in 2013. Increasing affluence, a rapidly aging population and the steady extension of public health insurance are among factors that are driving demand for prescription medicines. Vietnam has set an ambitious goal to achieve universal health coverage by 2015, since over 30 percent of the population is still not covered by any form of public health insurance, and private health expenditure remains high at 57 percent of the country's total health expenditure. Vietnamese patients also face a burden from relatively high drug prices, due to limited domestic drug production and a lack of cost-containment measures. Foreign drug manufactures must contend with a regionally fragmented market, as well as weak intellectual property protection policies and a protracted regulatory environment for drug approval and distribution when doing business in Vietnam.

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Other key findings from the Vietnam Market Access Tracker:

    --  Drug prices in Vietnam are comparatively high; 12 times higher than
        international reference prices. The country's difficulty in containing
        drug prices is exacerbated by a fragmented healthcare system, a
        decentralized drug procurement process and heavy dependence on imported
        medicines.
    --  The population faces high out-of-pocket health expenditure, which
        continues to be a financial burden and a significant barrier to access
        to healthcare.
    --  Typical of most developing countries, Vietnam's intellectual property
        rights protection is weak. The lack of regulatory transparency, as well
        as high penetration of counterfeit drugs into the market has contributed
        to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America's request to
        keep the country on the Watch List in its Special 301 Report for 2014.
    --  Ongoing negotiations to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have
        caused concerns among government officials and experts because agreeing
        to TPP proposals may constrain the country's ability to curb rising drug
        costs.

Comments from Decision Resources Group Analyst Jonathan Chan, MMedSc:

    --  "Vietnam's population reached 90 million by the end of 2013, making it
        the third most populous country in Southeast Asia and a sizable market
        for foreign drug manufacturers to consider for investment. An estimated
        market growth rate of 20 percent through 2017 should signal Vietnam's
        importance in any company's strategic planning when exploring
        opportunities in developing markets."
    --  "Signing off on the TPP agreement would require Vietnam to concede an
        additional period of data exclusivity on top of a 20-year patent term.
        This data exclusivity period, which denies drug regulators the use of
        clinical trial data from the originator to approve generic alternatives
        until the period expires, typically lasts at least five years, and may
        not begin until closer to the end of the 20-year patent term. This
        effectively delays generic competition and keeps drug prices high,
        outcomes that work against the interests of the country."

About Decision Resources Group
Decision Resources Group offers best-in-class, high-value information and insights on critical issues within the healthcare industry. Clients rely on this analysis and data to make informed decisions. Find out more at www.DecisionResourcesGroup.com.

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registered trademarks of their respective holders.

For more information, contact:

Decision Resources Group
Christopher Comfort
781-993-2597
ccomfort@dresourcesgroup.com

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SOURCE Decision Resources Group