Vietnam imports over 90% of medical equipment. Why and What is the situation now?

According to Ministry of Health, more than 90% of the total value of medical equipment consumed by the Vietnamese market is imported. This market has exceeded $ 1.1 billion in revenue in 2017, compared with about $ 950 million of 2016.
Vietnamese investors and enterprises are focusing on building and renovation of hospitals, trading pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. Vietnam imports mostly from Japan, Germany, USA, China, Singapore. Kinds of imported medical equipment are mainly:

  • Image diagnosis devices (X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, CT scaner)
  • Operating room equipment, patient monitoring, sterilization equipment
  • Endoscopy, treatment, medical waste treatment, implants, and etc.

Domestic production is a problem for Vietnam’s medical manufacturing industry. After long years, there are only 232 domestic enterprises (including 40 foreign-invested enterprises and 192 domestic one) and the localization rate is also very low. Among them, there are about 50 companies that can supply acceptable equipments like medical beds, bedside cabinets, medical furniture. There are slightly high-end devices, heavy in terms of assembly like an X-ray machine in cooperation with Korea and Japan. Rest of them produce common and supporting supplies, therefore, it is not enough to meet the market demand.

The Ministry of Health held a conference on “Promoting the development of domestic medical equipment production” to implement the Central Executive Committee’s Decision No.20/NQ-TW on strengthening the people healthcare in the new situation.

Mr. Nguyen Minh Tuan, Director of the Department of Medical Equipment and Works, Ministry of Health said that there are difficulties. Regarding subjectivity, they are legal documents, regulations of procedures, administrative, business conditions. It is necessary to clearly classify the level of risk of regular medical equipment.
From the perspective of enterprises, one issue is that Vietnam does not have a domestic certification organization of ISO 13485 so they must signs work with foreign agencies to assess the factory. Therefore it takes a lot of time and expenses for verification.
In addition, according to the representative of enterprises, weak high-tech mould production, lack of physico-chemical testing laboratories lead to the delay in production and introduction of a new product.

Source: Ministry of Health, Health Magazines

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