Foreign firms set sights on medical equipment market

August 15, 2018 | 08:00
Foreign manufacturers are shifting focus to the Vietnamese medical equipment market, which promises strong growth and harbours unexploited potential.
foreign firms set sights on medical equipment market
Vietnam Medi-Pharm Expo paves the way for foreign medical device manufacturers to enter Vietnam

Brandon Moon, general manager of Philosys, told VIR: “We are excited by the prospect of more business opportunities in Vietnam. We are seeking partnerships with reliable distributors who have nationwide sales networks like pharmaceutical and medical device distribution companies.”

The South Korean medical device maker specialises in manufacturing blood glucose monitoring systems for diabetes patients. The company is looking to enter the Vietnamese market after setting up distribution networks in neighbouring countries.

According to Moon, there have been many changes in eating habits and diets over the years, for example Vietnamese people now eat more fast food. These changes might contribute to some metabolic syndromes, such as high blood pressure, high blood glucose, and high cholesterol. Philosys wants to promote blood glucose monitoring products to help Vietnamese people control and prevent diabetes.

Another medical device manufacturer, Neusoft Medical Systems, also set sights on Vietnam. The company focuses on producing equipment such as CT scanners, ultrasound machines, MRI, and X-ray machines. Neusoft has been present in Vietnam for 10 years in partnership with local distributor Gmed Co., Ltd.

A company representative told VIR that the Vietnamese healthcare sector continues to develop at a robust rate, with local patients increasing their spending on health services. Many hospitals are upgrading medical devices and clinical standards to cater to the sophisticated demands of local patients. “In light of this trend, Neusoft has recorded growing equipment sales in Vietnam over the past three years. With a growth rate of 30 per cent, the company plans to consolidate its local businesses and upgrade its representative office to a subsidiary in the near future,” she said.

Around 280 local and foreign companies participated in Vietnam Medi-Pharm Expo held in Ho Chi Minh City recently to explore the market and find potential agents.

According to Hua Phu Doan, vice president and general secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Medical Equipment Association, Vietnam is emerging as an attractive destination for foreign pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies. The country’s medical equipment market enjoyed a growth rate of 18-20 per cent in 2016-2020. In 2017, the country spent more than $1.1 billion on imported medical equipment, up from $950 million in 2016.

Doan predicted that the local medical equipment market will grow by over 20 per cent annually in the coming years due to Vietnam’s high economic growth. Hospitals and clinics will have higher demand for modern medical equipment to replace obsolete equipment. Also, there are more hospitals, clinics, and beauty salons in the pipeline, which will create additional demand for medical devices.

According to Pham Le Tuan, head of the Finance Department of the Ministry of Health, 90 per cent of the medical equipment available in local hospitals came from foreign countries like Japan, Germany, the US, China, and Singapore, accounting for more than 50 per cent of the total import value of the medical industry.

The demand for medical equipment is on the rise, particularly for equipment related to imaging, operations, emergency, and testing. High-tech equipment will also be provided to large hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Danang, and Can Tho.

By Thanh Van

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