£810 / $1295 / €985
A new law was passed in November 2008, which took effect in October 2009, making health insurance compulsory for all citizens. The government hopes to achieve total coverage by 2014. Under the new law, there are three levels of benefits under health insurance schemes, the first level covers all or 100% of expenses at nominated medical facilities, while the other two levels will cover 95% and 80% of the expenses respectively with the patient making up the rest. In December 2012, the Ministry of Health and the Vietnam Social Insurance company announced that around 30 million people still did not have health insurance; the latest estimates show that around 65% of the population has medical cover.
The government has pledged 45.2 trillion Dong (US$2.5 billion) to build or upgrade specialty hospitals and some provincial-level general hospitals in mountainous and other disadvantaged areas in the 2009-2013 period. In its 2013 Healthcare budget, of 81.9 trillion Dong (US$3.9 billion), the government has pledged to reduce overload of patients at hospitals through the provision of new facilities.
The private healthcare sector in Vietnam has expanded since the lifting of the ban on private practice in 1989. People often choose to use private facilities, if they can afford to do so, as the quality of state healthcare provision is very poor. According to latest data for 2011, an estimated 61.7% of healthcare expenditure was private.
In 2011, an estimated 93% of the medical device market was supplied by imports, and the sector is growing rapidly. Singapore, Japan, Germany and China are the leading suppliers, accounting for 50% of imports in 2011. Local production is limited to basic items such as syringes and hospital beds. The value of exports reached US$420.9 million in 2011, with 34.2% of medical products exported to Japan. The value of exports has been growing fast, as overseas companies, mainly Japanese, use the country as a manufacturing base.
Vietnam receives a large amount of international aid in the form of loans and donated medical equipment. A number of small projects are currently taking place in Vietnam, including those funded by the World Bank and the EU. The country became a WTO member in 2007.
In 2012, the Vietnamese market for medical equipment and supplies is estimated at US$634 million, or just over US$7 per capita. It is expected that the device market will continue to expand strongly at 18.6% per annum to 2017. This will take the Vietnamese market to around US$1.5 billion in 2017, although the per capita rate will remain low at only US$15.8.
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