Pharmaceutical options good medicine for firms

Vietnam’s pharmaceutical industry is increasingly appealing to excited investors.

For example, in April local giant Hau Giang Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company broke ground on a $24 million drug production plant in Tan Phu Thanh Industrial Zone in southern An Giang province. The plant, with an annual capacity of three billion tablets, is slated to come online in late 2012.

Later South Korea’s leading group Korea United Pharma aired its long-term investment plan in Vietnam. The group will pump $5 million into expanding its drug production plant in southern Binh Duong Industrial Zone whose construction began in late 2009. The plant currently churns out products made from ginseng for export to over 30 countries around the world.

Thomson Medical Centre, a big private healthcare group based in Singapore, recently had a working session with southern Ninh Thuan province to discus building a specialised hospital for tumor treatment combined with nursing in the province.

According to centre chairman Hwee Tiong Yeo, Ninh Thuan’s propitious geographical and natural conditions were ideal for healthcare service and tourism promotion.

“Our group will soon embark on the project once getting high investment incentives and support in legal setup from local governments,” said the executive.

US-based AmeriSure and Hanoi-based Vimedimex pharmaceutical group recently inked a cooperative deal under which Vimedimex will act as AmeriSure’s exclusive distributor of drugs, medical equipment, vitamins and supplements, and cosmetics in the Vietnamese market. Vimedimex also acquires exclusive rights to market and sell these products in the ASEAN region, China, Japan and South Korea. In exchange Vimedimex will get AmeriSure support.

India-based Fortis Healthcare Group just wrapped up the acquisition of 65 per cent stake in Ho Chi Minh City-based Hoan My Medical Corporation at $64 million.

Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency statistics show that Vietnam was home to 75 foreign healthcare projects valued over $1 billion as of July 2011.

However, most of these Vietnam-based factories cannot turn out high-value drugs for specific treatment. That is why the country spent $1 billion on drug imports each year.

The latest report by Business Monitor International, a leading provider of forecasts covering 175 countries and 22 industry sectors, reads that Vietnam ranked 13th out of 17 of the world’s fastest growing markets for drug spending.

Hai Yen (