Drug-makers-eye-CambodiaVietnamese pharmaceutical products are yet to gain a reputation in Cambodia and domestic companies have to employ specific strategies to tap the significant potential that the neighbouring nation’s market presents, several exporters say.

A firm presence in the Cambodian market would open the door for Vietnamese drugs to other markets in the region.

Several domestic drug companies have exported their products to Cambodia, including the Hau Giang Pharmaceutical Joint-Stock Company, the Domesco Medical Import Export Joint – Stock Corp, the Pharbaco Central Pharmaceutical Joint- Stock Company and the FD Pharma Import and Export Company.

According to Nguyen Van Dinh, director of Cambodia-based FD Pharma Import and Export Company, Cambodia is a huge and potential pharmaceutical market for Vietnamese exporters because it largely depends on imports from France, United States, South Korea, India, Thailand and Viet Nam.

However, Cambodian consumers do not pay much attention to Vietnamese pharmaceutical products because they do not match local habits and tastes.

Besides, the pharmaceutical industry in Viet Nam is not very well developed. Domestic producers have to import over 90 per cent of raw materials and this affects production costs and reduces the competitiveness of Vietnamese products in the market.

Quality is the most important concern on the minds of consumers and Cambodian importers feel Vietnamese medicine making factories need to invest in technology and modern equipment to improve product quality.

Many medicine makers were yet to obtain the ASEAN standard certificates for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), the conference heard.

Many drug exporters said that the Government needed to lower export duties on pharmaceutical products to raise their competitiveness.

Marketing experts said pharmaceutical exports would need high quality packaging with eye-catching designs in order to attract consumers.

Vietnamese pharmaceutical products exported to the Cambodian market are mainly antibiotics, tonics and other specific remedies.

The FD Pharma Company said its distribution system operated throughout Cambodia and had an import turnover of Viet Nam-sourced medicine that exceeds US$1 million per year.

This could go up to $1.5 million this year and $2-3 million in the next few years, it said.

Cambodia is a country attracting increasing numbers of foreign visitors from all over the world for holiday or business, and can become a bridge for popularising the image of Vietnamese pharmaceutical products in other foreign markets, especially in ASEAN nations, according to experts attending the conference.