Vietnam is a fast growing economy in the Asian region with a significantly high population (over 92 million in 2015). Although still expanding (about 1.1% on average during 2000–2015), the Vietnamese population is considered to be entering the ageing stage at a very high rate. The rapid expansion of the middle-income urban class and the ageing people ratio have dramatically pushed up the demand for healthcare goods, particularly in terms of pharmaceutical products. Since the early 1990s the government has addressed the necessities of rising demand for healthcare products by formulating a series of policies aimed at promoting the development of the pharmaceutical industry. However, the implementation of such policies does not seem to have been completely efficient given that the country still needs to import up to 90% of its pharmaceutical consumption. This paper aims to explore the development of the pharmaceutical industry during the years 1990–2015 and to identify a series of weaknesses in the government promotion of the industry. Future developments will also be discussed on how the Vietnamese pharmaceutical industry could increase its participation in the regional supply chain, which is currently being dominated by big players like India and China.
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