Fostering pharma-healthcare growth and the spillover effects

July 18, 2023 | 23:00
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Vietnam’s pharma and healthcare sector is entering a new stage of development, requiring the adoption of innovative approaches and clearly defined policy priorities to achieve long-term goals. Chairman of the Pharma Group Emin Turan talked to VIR’s Bich Thuy about the importance of a new resolution to the sector’s sustainable future.

The pharmaceutical and healthcare landscape in Vietnam has made significant improvements over the years. How has the Pharma Group been contributing to this?

Fostering pharma-healthcare growth and the spillover effects
Emin Turan, Chairman of the Pharma Group

Representing the voice of the innovative pharmaceutical industry in Vietnam, the Pharma Group has 22 member companies sharing the same mission: to ensure patients in Vietnam have fast and sustainable access to safe, high-quality, and innovative medicines.

Pharmaceutical innovation – the core of our industry’s work – relies on pushing the limits of scientific knowledge to advance new medicines and vaccines for the benefit of people everywhere. Over the last five years, the number of new chemical and biological entities that have been made available in Europe, the US, and Japan is 72, 159, and 41 respectively.

As a key driver in the continuous research and development of new treatment solutions globally, our members strive to bring the latest medicines to Vietnam as fast as possible. The pandemic has underscored the importance of innovation and access more than ever.

Pharma Group, with its 25 years of partnership for health in Vietnam, is fully committed to supporting Vietnam’s efforts to address current and future healthcare challenges. The 2023-2024 period is critical as we anticipate the revision of laws on Pharmacy and on Health insurance, and other important legislation that will shape the healthcare landscape in the next decade.

Our focus has been, and continues to be, sharing and collaborating with stakeholders towards solutions that will speed up the availability of new and innovative medicines; improve accessibility for patients; prevent shortages of medicines; strengthen the regulatory system; attain sustainable health financing; and create an enabling and attractive environment for pharmaceutical companies to operate and further invest in Vietnam.

More than that, we are actively contributing patient-centric, evidence-based, and practical solutions to support the government in implementing its goals to realise Vietnam’s vision for the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector.

To open wider space for improvement and development, what factors should the sector focus on?

Firstly, the sustainable development of a country relies heavily on the pillars of science, technology, and innovation. Among all industries, the pharmaceutical sector stands out as the largest investor in innovation.

For the past decade, the pharmaceutical industry is estimated to have invested over $1 trillion in research and development (R&D) activities. It is also worth noting that our members are mandated to allocate at least 10 per cent of their global sales for R&D purposes.

These investments go beyond healthcare, delivering substantial value to other industries and fostering significant economic and social benefits by strengthening the country’s innovation capacity.

Secondly, an enabling and sustainable environment for patient access and business is crucial for the development of the pharma and healthcare. It plays a vital role in improving public health and facilitating the growth of the pharmaceutical industry by attracting both domestic and foreign investments. The development of sector strategies, action plans, policy enablers, and incentives requires collaboration among various stakeholders, including the private sector, with the government’s primary stewardship role.

Looking at international best practices, we can draw lessons from Singapore. Despite not having the advantages of a large land area or dense population, Singapore has successfully positioned itself as a regional hub for pharmaceutical manufacturing, research, and innovation over the past two decades. This achievement can largely be attributed to the implementation of a biomedical sciences initiative and the prioritisation of the pharmaceutical sector at the national policy level since the turn of the century.

By 2021, the pharmaceutical output in Singapore had reached $13.5 billion with a compound annual growth rate of 7.8 per cent, compared to $2.8 billion in 2000.

Fostering pharma-healthcare growth and the spillover effects

Resolution No.29-NQ/TW on the acceleration of the national industrialisation and modernisation to 2030 with a vision to 2045 has become a guide for healthcare. What is the importance of this to future sustainable development?

We wholeheartedly applaud and fully support the orientation set forth in Resolution 29 to establish pharmaceuticals as one of the priority sectors that will enable and drive innovation. We are optimistic that the upcoming action plan to implement the resolution will enable breakthrough solutions and yield significant outcomes.

Leveraging its strengths and global experiences, Pharma Group expects that the action plan for Resolution 29 should prioritise policy reform, establish tangible goals to expedite patient access to new medicines, and integrate innovative healthcare financing mechanisms that harmonise benefits of stakeholders.

In addition, sector development should be based on research and innovation; a roadmap should be in place to foster a conducive ecosystem based on competition, innovation, and comprehensive and broad integration. This will ultimately enhance the competitiveness of Vietnam’s pharmaceutical industry, both regionally and globally.

To promote the value of innovation, the Pharma Group takes great pride in hosting the Healthcare Innovation Forum, an annual event that brings stakeholders together to discuss technology’s driving on sustainable healthcare systems and innovative approaches and technologies to transform healthcare in Vietnam.

Following the success of the inaugural event in 2022, which saw the participation of 200 attendees from government entities, embassies, universities, local and international researchers, doctors, startups, and top companies, this year’s event is scheduled for October 18.

Through discussions with thought leaders, the forum will explore multiple aspects, from enhancing R&D capabilities and accelerating patient access to upgrading the country’s healthcare system based on local strengths and adopted international best practices, as well as framing necessary policies to realise Vietnam’s vision.

Fresh mindsets called for in post-pandemic healthcare Fresh mindsets called for in post-pandemic healthcare

As traditional approaches prove outdated, players are seeking innovative methods in Vietnam’s development of the pharma and healthcare sector.

By Bich Thuy

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