MSD placing further investment in Vietnam to make a difference

July 17, 2023 | 09:33
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MSD Vietnam this month inaugurated a new office in Hanoi and expanded a storage warehouse in Cat Lai Industrial Zone in Ho Chi Minh City. VIR’s Hoang Anh talked to managing director Jennifer Cox on the forward-looking strategy of the company.

What does the opening of a new Hanoi office mean to MSD Vietnam and the bilateral relationship between this country and the United States?

Known as Merck & Co. in the US and Canada, we came to Vietnam in 1996 because of the potential, opportunities, local talents, and more importantly, we came here to make a difference for people’s health.

MSD placing further investment in Vietnam to make a difference
Jennifer Cox, managing director of MSD Vietnam

The milestones throughout the journey have demonstrated our commitment to Vietnam, as well as the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The new office has a modern design, accommodating open workspaces in the first LEED-certified building in the capital. We also inaugurated the newly expanded warehouse in Thu Duc of Ho Chi Minh City, with capacity quadrupled. The new warehouse will significantly increase the storage capacity of vaccines and drugs to respond in a timely manner and meet the increasing healthcare needs of Vietnamese people.

The continued investment after nearly 30 years of MSD’s presence in Vietnam confirms our long-term commitment and reaffirms our trust in the growth of Vietnam.

This month also represented an important opportunity for our two countries as they celebrate 10 years of their comprehensive partnership. MSD was honoured to be recognised by the US ambassador to Vietnam to stand front and centre in strengthening the bilateral relationship in healthcare, innovation, and science.

Can you explain the notable programmes that MSD has implemented in Vietnam?

MSD currently has more than 20 innovative medicines and vaccines being launched to address unmet medical needs. Millions of patients have access to our products, many of which are lifesaving.

Besides introducing vaccines and medicines, MSD has been working cross sector to enhance access for Vietnamese people to these innovative solutions, as well as tackling critical healthcare challenges in the country. These partnerships range from combating antimicrobial resistance and supporting the scale-up of HPV vaccination, to strengthening access to primary healthcare and improving maternal health in vulnerable communities.

MSD has been working with hospitals on the antimicrobial stewardship programme, piloted at Cho Ray Hospital since 2012. In 2020, we partnered with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and expanded the scheme to 36 hospitals, and 46 hospitals have actively enrolled as of 2022.

Immuno-oncology opens a new chapter in cancer treatment. MSD was proud to be the first company to introduce immunotherapy in Vietnam in 2017, and collaborated with Phyto and the Bright Future Fund to implement a patient access programme in 36 hospitals nationwide. In 2022, the MoH awarded a certificate of merit for MSD in recognition for our contributions to the patient access initiative.

In order to reduce maternal mortality, we are continuing the MSD for Mothers initiative towards 2024. The project invests in innovative interventions helping women in various ethnic minority regions of Vietnam to access quality maternal care.

MSD placing further investment in Vietnam to make a difference
Biopharma company MSD Vietnam, known as Merck & Co. in the US and Canada, inaugurated its new office in Hanoi on July 7.

What are your suggestions to improve the quality of care for people in the near future?

Healthcare in Vietnam has progressed significantly over past years and continues to make relentless efforts to improve quality of care. MSD is proud to help realise this shared goal as a trusted healthcare partner through multiple long-term partnerships.

The pandemic has illustrated the importance of resilient health systems and offers an opportunity for action. In the near future, we see the critical need to enhance the sustainability of healthcare. For example, Vietnam is quickly updating advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment. However, ensuring that eligible patients can access innovative treatment sustainably remains a challenge, especially when the ratio of out-of-pocket for healthcare in Vietnam is still high.

The need to update the National Reimbursement Drug List is also urgent, as is the need to implement more public-private partnerships so that Vietnamese patients can access innovative treatments.

MSD placing further investment in Vietnam to make a difference

The president of MSD in Asia-Pacific has emphasised the importance of Vietnam as a critical market. Can you share the directions of growth for MSD in Vietnam?

MSD will continue to make far-reaching investments and collaborate strongly with key stakeholders in Vietnam.

Following the new office in Hanoi, we will renovate the office in Ho Chi Minh City, building an environment where our employees can thrive. MSD commits to fostering a diverse, inclusive space for employees while operating responsibly within communities and the environment.

We collaborated with the Red Cross to organise blood donation days to address the shortage of blood after the pandemic period. And in February, we hosted a coastal clean-up in Cam Ranh and Khanh Hoa while encouraging the reduction of single-use plastic.

We are also partnering with hospitals and research institutes to roll out clinical trials to increase opportunities for patients to access innovative vaccines and medicines here.

MSD Vietnam inaugurates new office in Hanoi MSD Vietnam inaugurates new office in Hanoi

Biopharma company MSD Vietnam, known as Merck & Co. in the US and Canada, inaugurated its new office in Hanoi on July 7.

By Hoang Anh

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