Vietnam's pharma sector shows potential

July 21, 2023 | 19:50
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Prof. Nguyen Hai Nam, rector of the Hanoi University of Pharmacy, recently asserted the potential strength of human resources in Vietnam's pharmaceutical sector, suggesting it could be the underpinning element for attracting global investment.
Vietnam's pharma sector shows potential
Prof. Nguyen Hai Nam, rector of Hanoi University of Pharmacy

Alongside financial resources and regulatory parameters, Nam regards human resources as the primary driver for the expansion of high-tech pharmaceuticals, a sector recognised for its innovation and creativity.

"Vietnam stands ready to meet the workforce demands of global corporations, should they decide to invest," Nam said at VIR’s conference on July 20, which discussed new approaches for the development of the pharmaceutical industry.

According to Nam, Vietnam is home to 41 pharmaceutical training institutions with approximately 37,000 students. The number of annual graduates is approximately 6,800, marking a tenfold increase over the last decade.

"On average, 15 per cent of these graduates enter the pharmaceutical-technology field each year, meeting the requirements of large pharmaceutical corporations and global research centres," he stated. "Besides pharmacists, the pharmaceutical sector also demands skilled pharmaceutical technicians, for the manufacture of chemical and biological ingredients."

Vietnam currently trains organic chemistry bachelors across 13 institutions, contributing approximately 800 graduates each year. These professionals are equipped to participate in the challenging arena of new drug development.

"Vietnam's resources are sufficient to meet investor demand for pharmacist and pharmaceutical chemistry training," Prof. Nam said.

Despite the high-risk and rigorous nature of the pharmaceutical sector, Vietnam continues to persevere in attracting foreign direct investment to its healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. However, procedural bottleneck challenges remain, requiring more aggressive administrative reforms to streamline processes and entice foreign-invested projects.

"One hindrance is the extended timeframe from project initiation to investment realisation, which can take up to five years. This extended period may dissuade foreign-invested enterprises and steer them towards countries offering more lenient mechanisms." he added.

He also suggested implementing tax-incentive schemes for firms making significant investments in research and development, mirroring innovation models like those seen in South Korea.

Alongside a robust talent pool in the pharmaceutical sector, these proposed reforms could significantly elevate Vietnam's attractiveness to international investors, thereby fostering the growth of a native pharmaceutical industry, and further developing the nation's healthcare landscape.

“With the right administrative and tax reforms, Vietnam's robust talent pool can make the country a viable contender for global investment in the high-tech pharmaceutical sector,” he concluded.

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