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Drug Shortages in Vietnam


With the increase in both income and health awareness, Vietnam has seen its demand for pharmaceutical products soar over the years. However, current domestic production is capable of meeting 60% of the demand and studies show that in fact only 45% of Vietnam’s demand is being met by local companies.

Reasons behind drug shortages

The field of pharmaceuticals is extremely varied and constantly changing so it requires cutting-edge facilities and extraordinary talent. At present, Vietnam manufactures are incapable of producing specialized medicine for Special Treatment, due to undeveloped facilities and the insufficient expertise of their labor force (Sacombank-SBS, 2015)

Furthermore, taking into account the rising demand of consumers and their willingness to pay for the best service, the quality provided by domestic manufacturers has not yet corresponded to the market needs (Sacombank-SBS, 2015)

Additionally a shortage of necessary resources for the development of the field, outdated machines and equipment incapable of assuring the production needs, have also contributed to this shortage. (Hai Quan Online – General Department of Vietnam Customs, 2015)

More than 90% of production materials are imported from foreign countries, resulting in a high cost of production which is then passed down to consumers. (Business Monitor International, 2009)

Research shows that drug shortages are not necessarily a cause for grave concern and health services are normally sufficiently capable of meeting their patients’ needs. However, there have indeed been several acknowledged cases of deficiency in medicine for Special Treatment, especially for rare diseases.

For instance, in 2013, Ho Chi Minh City Oncological Hospital fell experienced a shortage of 4 types of special drugs and 17 other principal ones like anaesthetics (Diprivan Inj 20ml and Diprivan 50ml) or even Glucose 5% Infusion. (Thanh, 2013)

Additionally, in 2015, Ho Chi Minh City Mental Hospital called for additional budget for drug purchases in an effort to remedy their patients. They accounted that their resources for particular kinds of medicine are rather small, triggering off the usage of traditional one and the drug resistance of patients. Indeed, the high prices of imported products and the incompetence of domestic businesses once again rang the bell to authorities for imminent innovation. (Tinh, 2015)

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