New medicines that were imported in May are estimated to be US$30 million, increasing 15.4% and as much as US$149 million of new medicines (increasing 4.2%) compared with last year according to the Ministry of Trade.
After the Ministry of Health has permitted three Vietnamese pharmaceutical exporters to perform parallel imports as well as foreign importers that are still operating in Vietnam, local medicine prices have started to stabilise.
However, economists estimate next time medicine price may rise because to September 2004, Zueling Pharma Co will have to stop distributing medicines in Vietnam and may cause a temporary shortage of medicines on the market. Therefore, other companies will catch this chance to hike new medicines import. Moreover, the government is considering spending three billion dong to import medicines currently provided by Zueling Pharma Co in order to stabilise or control the market after the company stops operations.
In addition, the value of medicines production in the first five months this year increased about 15% compared with last year. Local pharmaceutical producers are focusing on investing and installing production line and technology that will meet general standards internationally as well as regionally.
In May, price of medicines that are made locally and under essential medicines list is generally stable. There is some price reduction of medical materials that are imported for production such as anti-biotic materials made in India (from 2-3%); Paracetamol and Vitamin that are imported from China.
Recently, the government issued Decree 120/2004/ND-CP on medicine management.