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March 31, 2017

Hiyaku No.11

Those visiting Vietnam for the first time may be surprised by the “pharmacist medical treatment” phenomenon. Long waiting time in hospitals, where referrals are compulsory, coupled with high medical fees, has compelled Vietnamese seek medical help at the many pharmacies as “mini clinics” around town. Pharmacists working at these pharmacies diagnose and prescribe medication to patients, based on their knowledge and experience. The medications they prescribe are not limited to over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Prescription drugs can also be obtained without a doctor’s prescription in Vietnam. Given the financial abilities of many patients, it is the norm for patients to purchase medication per tablet instead of per box.

Following these factors, it is not unusual in Southeast Asia countries for pharmacists to be the primary healthcare providers whom patients consult with and receive prescription drugs. However, Vietnam’s heterogeneous healthcare environment is unique. This paper will focus on the healthcare industry in Vietnam, which is unique in the Southeast Asia region. Vietnam’s healthcare industry is also evolving, and the changes may also serve as major business opportunities.

The first part of the paper will examine the unique characteristics of Vietnam's healthcare market, followed by the major changes in the industry, in the second part. The final part of the paper will discuss the business opportunities brought about by the changes in the industry.

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Business Opportunities in Vietnam


Hiyaku No. 11

Published March 2017. Available in