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Vietnam imports large volume of medical equipment
By Hung Le
Thursday,  Jul 26, 2018,15:19 (GMT+7)

Vietnam imports large volume of medical equipment

By Hung Le

Visitors have a look at a medial product on display at the Vietnam International Hospital, Medical and Pharmaceutical Exhibition in HCMC last year – PHOTO: HUNG LE

HCMC – The Vietnamese medical equipment market has grown 18% annually over the last five years, but more than 90% of medical equipment is imported from other countries, said Hua Phu Doan, vice chairman and general secretary of the HCMC Medical Equipment Association.

At a press conference on July 24 to introduce the 18th Vietnam International Hospital, Medical and Pharmaceutical Exhibition in HCMC (Vietnam Medi-Pharm Expo 2018), Doan noted that the country had spent more than US$1.1 billion on medical equipment imports last year, well above the US$950 million spent in 2016. Therefore, Vietnam is becoming increasingly attractive to medical equipment manufacturers, he noted.

However, domestic enterprises account for only 10% of the local market share and can manufacture simple and low value-added products, he added. Vietnam currently has only 50 medical equipment manufacturers that are licensed by the Ministry of Health.

Vietnam’s five largest suppliers of medical equipment are Japan, Germany, the United States, China and Singapore. Medical products from these markets make up 55% of Vietnam’s total medical equipment imports.

Vietnam has purchased mainly diagnostic imaging equipment such as X-ray, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scanners, as well as equipment used for surgery, endoscopy, sterilization, testing and medical waste treatment.

Doan forecast the local medical equipment market would annually grow by over 20% in the coming years thanks to rapid economic development. Hospitals and clinics will have higher demand for modern medical equipment to replace outdated equipment to better serve local patients.

In addition, more hospitals, clinics and beauty salons will be developed, requiring a large volume of medical equipment.

However, public healthcare facilities in Vietnam have so far operated ineffectively. Many hospitals in large cities, such as HCMC and Hanoi, are often overloaded or even operate at double capacity during peak hours.

Notably, hi-tech medical equipment will be provided to large hospitals in HCMC, Hanoi, Hue, Danang and Can Tho. In HCMC, some US$900 million will be invested to upgrade equipment for hospitals by 2020.

Modern equipment and technologies are crucial for the production of medical instruments, but supporting industries remain underdeveloped. Meanwhile, medical products are exempt from import duties, causing difficulties for local firms in competing with foreign rivals.

The Vietnam Medi-Pharm Expo 2018, which will be jointly held by Vietnam National Trade Fair & Advertising Company and the HCMC Department of Health from August 2 to 4 at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in HCMC, is expected to attract some 350 local and international exhibitors to showcase their equipment and technologies at 400 booths, up 20% over last year.

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