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Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

Given a large national population base, it is unsurprising that the domestic market for pharmaceutical products in Vietnam is very large. Many of Vietnam’s approximately 90 million people who previously would not have had sufficient income to purchase pharmaceutical products of a reasonable standard of quality on a regular basis have progressed upwards into income brackets which do enable them to make such purchases. As economic development and incomes in Vietnam progress, so too does the market for pharmaceutical products.

Now that Vietnam has officially attained “middle income” status, there is a strong demand for reliable, international standard healthcare, and such demand is ever-increasing. At present, this demand remains to a large extent unsatisfied, and a wealth of opportunity exists for investors in the healthcare sector who are prepared to invest the time and effort necessary to invest in this highly dynamic sector.

To navigate the regulatory framework which surrounds investment in the healthcare sector is by no means straightforward. Satisfaction of the various minimum investment conditions is a decidedly challenging endeavour, and the regulatory procedures which must be followed in order to obtain the licences and approvals necessary to operate health care facilities in Vietnam are onerous.

Under the applicable laws of Vietnam, investment in the healthcare and pharmaceuticals sector by foreign investors is conditional. With respect to investment in the healthcare sector, while the conditions seem relatively clear, the process to obtain an Investment Certificate and Operation License in practice can be significantly lengthy, especially for a greenfield project. Foreign investors may be interested in the acquisition of existing establishments as to the route might be less time-consuming. 

With respect to foreign investment in the pharmaceuticals sector, it is possible for foreign investors to establish a foreign invested company to undertake certain permitted types of business. Further consideration must be taken, and consultation with the relevant Vietnamese authorities should be obtained, when deciding to purchase shares in a Vietnamese pharmaceuticals company (especially a listed company).  

When investing in the healthcare sector in Vietnam, planning and structuring are imperative. Together with the increasingly strict regulatory regime, the aforementioned factors give rise to an acute need for quality and experienced legal advice and assistance.

Recent Work

  • Representing a leading German pharmaceutical manufacturer in its proposed 40% equity acquisition of a Vietnamese entity for the production, management, trading, research and development and production of pharmaceutical products in Vietnam for consumption in the South-East Asian markets (including Vietnam) and European markets.

  • Advising a major multi-national European company in the pharmaceuticals industry on the legal requirements and procedures for obtaining the licences and certificates required for the importation of pharmaceutical products and medical equipment for distribution, in addition to local manufacture.

  • Acting for one of Japan’s largest pharmaceuticals companies in its proposed acquisition of a number of Vietnamese pharmaceutical manufacturing companies. Frasers was required to undertake a due diligence review with respect to the Vietnamese company and to provide comprehensive regulatory advice. We also focused on the key area of concern being whether a foreign investor may purchase shares in a listed pharmaceutical company that is licensed to distribute third-party pharmaceutical products.

  • Advising a leading manufacturer of pharmaceutical products in relation to numerous employment related issues, including the change of the Chief Representative of the representative office of a pharmaceuticals company in Vietnam.

  • Advising a private equity fund on the acquisition of shares acquisition in a leading pharmaceuticals company in the securities market via the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange.

  • Acting for a major Singapore-based investment firm, in relation to numerous of its actual and proposed business and investment activities in the healthcare sector in Vietnam.