In 2021, the Vietnamese pharmaceutical industry's revenue decreased due to prolonged social distancing during the 3rd and 4th outbreaks. It is estimated that the total revenue of Vietnam's pharmaceutical industry for the whole year decreased by 6% over the same period, of which revenue from retail drug stores increased only 2% and from hospital channels decreased by 14%.
The application of strict social distancing in many provinces, especially the southern region, caused disruptions in the supply and distribution activities of pharmaceutical companies.
Hospitals were forced to convert into COVID treatment centers, causing a sharp drop in drug procurement revenue, while the hospital channel currently accounts for more than 60% of pharmaceutical demand.
In addition, intensive care units (ICUs) are often overcrowded while most COVID patients are being treated almost free of charge.
However, some hospitals still benefited from the increased revenue from COVID testing services during the outbreak period, especially for hospitals that have signed contracts with customers like large industrial zones with frequent testing needs for staff.
For pharmaceutical companies, it ws difficult for them to benefit from vaccines or drugs to treat COVID-19 when currently only VNVC is the only unit other than the Ministry of Health to import vaccines. However, the government is also beginning to allow many other pharmaceutical companies to register to produce therapeutic drugs based on the patents recently ceded from Pfizer and MSD.
Currently, imported drugs still dominate the market, increasing slightly from 56% in 2020 to 58% in 2021. In contrast, the domestic drug supply hardly increased because of the slow progress of domestic manufacturers along with increased demand for specialty drugs from foreign companies.
It is estimated that the revenue of domestic listed healthcare companies in 2021 reached VND 14,800 billion, down 1.8% over the same period. Total net profit reached VND 2,030 billion, up 10.5%.
Although revenue was flat due to a drop in healthcare demand, net profit grew relatively well as companies cut costs and reduced sales discounts for the year.
Source: Bloomberg, SSI Research; Compiled by VietnamCredit
In 2022, healthcare demand is expected to recover and grow by 13% compared to 2021. At the same time, it is predicted that the impact from the COVID-19 epidemic will be less severe or even bring some positive benefits.
Specifically, the proportion of people visiting hospital will be back to normal, and the pharmaceutical sector will have a significant additional revenue from fever-reducing drugs and vitamins (which are used regularly to treat the light symptoms). In particular, many Vietnamese pharmaceutical companies have received the formula for the production of COVID-19 drugs transferred by Pfizer and MSD and may soon commercialize this year.
As a result, it is estimated that profits of healthcare companies will increase by 15% year-on-year, thanks to 12% growth in revenue and 4-6% increase in prices of medical examination and treatment services.
The increase in price is explained as inevitable because pharmaceutical companies have had to deal with high prices of raw materials (APIs) and hospitals have faced many expensive operating costs in the past two years.
For pharmaceutical companies, it is predicted that business results may be positive in the first half of 2022 when people stockpile drugs for the Omicron variant, while hospitals must wait for a recovery in the second half of 2022.
Source: SSI Research
Compiled by VietnamCredit