Indian, Chinese and Pakistani low cost medicine products have been flooding the Vietnamese market, while Vietnamese brands have been unfavorable in the Vietnamese market.
Low-cost, low-quality products flooding Vietnam
A senior official of the Vietnam Social Insurance, showing the list of the medicine products to be provided to state owned healthcare centers in Can Tho City in 2013, breathed a sigh: “The majority of the import products are from India. Vietnamese products could not win the bids to be able to penetrate state owned hospitals.”
Of the nearly one thousand of drug items to be provided to the healthcare centers in Can Tho City as announced by the city’s Healthcare Department, 200 items are made by Indian companies.
Meanwhile, Hau Giang Pharmacy, a Vietnamese big guy in the field, has obtained the right to provide 90 drug items, Imexpharm 52 to the hospitals in Can Tho.
“Indian medicine is very cheap, with which Vietnamese is uncompetitive,” a doctor, who was the member of the bidding council, said, adding that in principle, hospitals choose the products of the suppliers who offer the lowest prices.
The above said official from the Vietnam Social Insurance has noted that China and India sourced medicine products have the prices down by 20-166 percent this year in comparison with the 2012’s bidding prices.
The same thing is happening in most of cities and provinces. According to the Drug Management Agency, 120 Indian medicine products and 15 Chinese won the bids to be provided to state owned hospitals.
Dr. Pham Khanh Phong Lan, Director of the HCM City Healthcare Department, confirmed that many prestigious pharmacy firms failed the bid to provide drugs in 2013.
“The drug items from India, China and Pakistan were put into consideration together with the products from the US, Belgium, Italia, France and Vietnam. If considering the prices, European and Vietnamese products were uncompetitive,” she said.
However, the worrying problem lies in the quality of the low cost imports. The agency has released a report showing the bad quality of a lot of Indian products.
According to Nguyen Viet Hung, Deputy Head of the Drug Management Agency, from January 1, 2011 to August 23, 2013, the agency discovered quality problems in the products of 37 companies from 10 countries. These include 25 Indian pharmacy firms.
Vietnam-made medicine fails to penetrate public hospitals
Though being recognized by IMS Health, which provides information, services and technology to the global healthcare industry, as having high quality and reasonable prices, Vietnamese branded products have been defeated in the race to state owned healthcare centers.
Dr. Truong Van Tuan in HCM City said that it is the Circular No. 01 which paves the way for low-cost and low-quality products to enter Vietnam in large quantity.
The circular stipulates that healthcare centers have to choose the products which have the lowest offered prices. As a result, Vietnamese products have not been chosen because they were not cheap enough, while Vietnamese patients cannot use high quality products.
Le Van Tang, Head of the Public Procurement Management Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said that it is necessary to set up the barriers to prevent low quality products from Pakistan and India, especially when the products can be made by domestic pharmacy firms.