The Korean generic drugs will likely increase their share in the Vietnamese market starting in 2017, industry officials say.
According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, the Vietnamese government has recently lifted eight Korean pharmaceutical companies’ qualifications to Grade 2 when they make public bidding to supply medicine and medical supplies to the Southeast Asian country.
The eight companies are Dongkwang Pharm, Dongkook Pharmaceutical, Myungmoon Pharmaceutical, Samil Pharm, Samjin Pharm, JW Life Science, LG Chem and Korea United Pharm. To be benefitted by the latest move will be their tablets, ointments, vaccines and other products.
The Vietnamese medical institutions buy medicines through competitive bidding, and foreign suppliers can have advantages if the grades provided by the Vietnamese government are high. Vietnamese officials raised Korean pharmaceuticals’ grades in January. The latest move came after the Korean ministry requested Vietnam to recognize Korea’s “GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certificate” to the levels of advanced countries based on its recent accession to the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention and Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme (PIC/S), officials said.
The eight pharmaceuticals can have priority in participating in the public bidding for medical supplies over their competitors with lower grades. Also, they can write in higher prices for their products than those provided by lower-grade companies.
Vietnam is implementing a bidding grade system for generic drugs imported and distributed in the country. It divides foreign suppliers into five classes and sets a limit on their participation in bidding. It gives Grade 1 to only firms from countries that have joined International Conference on Harmonization (ICH), Australia-based companies applied by EU GMP or PIC/S GMP, and those who sell their products in Australia and other ICH member nations after winning the WHO’s GMP from the Vietnamese government.
The Grade 2 given to eight Korean pharmaceuticals are drugs applied by EU GMP or PIC/S GMP. Grade 3 is for drugs that won the WHO GMP from the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, Grade 4 are for drugs that went through bioequivalence test, and Grade 5 is for other drugs.
Korea United Pharm had been the only Korean company with Grade 3 label with all others classified into Grade-5 suppliers.
Vietnam’s drug market size was estimated at $3.8billion as of 2014 and is expected to grow 13.8 percent on average a year until 2019. Korean makers’ drug export to the Southeast Asian country totaled $127 million in 2015, up 3.5 percent from the previous year.
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