Leading global medicines company Novartis on January 16 inaugurated its new legal entity in Vietnam, Novartis Vietnam Co., Ltd., becoming one of the first multinational companies in the country to successfully transform from a representative office to a foreign-invested enterprise importer.

With the goal of expanding its local operations, Novartis invested more than $6 million in creating the right conditions for Novartis Vietnam Co., Ltd., including qualified GSP warehouse lease, additional personnel, enterprise resource planning (ERP) system implementation, and share capital.

During the inauguration ceremony, Novartis announced the arrival of the first import shipment of Novartis medicines in the Port of Ho Chi Minh City. Upon customs clearance, the imported Novartis medicines will be delivered to registered domestic wholesalers in compliance with local regulations. Novartis Vietnam Co., Ltd. secured its license to import and export medicines from Vietnam on August 28, 2019.

“We strive to enhance the Vietnamese people’s access to high-quality, innovative medicines. In support of that, we invest in strengthening local research and development capabilities. And as a committed partner of the government, we are supporting healthcare system strengthening initiatives. Collectively these commitments contribute to the socio-economic progress of Vietnam,” said Roeland Roelofs, country president of Novartis Vietnam.

Addressing the event, Nguyen Hoai Nam, deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City’s Health Department in Vietnam, said, “For many years, Novartis has been known as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies by both market capitalisation and sales. Novartis has made great efforts to develop early patient access to newly invented drugs, typically cancer drugs.”

Since 2011, Novartis has been a leader in conducting clinical trials in Vietnam across a wide range of disease areas, including dermatology, ophthalmology, oncology, respiratory, urology, neuroscience, and cardiology. To date, the company has conducted 43 clinical trials involving more than 900 patients, 500 healthcare professionals, and over 50 sites. Now that Novartis Vietnam has received the license to support clinical trial activities, all trials will be consolidated in the new company, thus allowing smoother operations and an expansion of the number and variety of trials.

Novartis has been operating in Vietnam since the 1950s through its predecessor companies, Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy. The company owned a pharmaceutical manufacturer in Bien Hoa Industrial Zone, Dong Nai prior to 2002. The representative office of Novartis Pharma Services AG were established in 2008. In February 2019, Novartis Vietnam Co., Ltd. was created.

The value of Novartis medicines in Vietnam reached more than $120 million in 2019. In addition, Patient Assistance Programmes of Novartis enabled access to innovative medicines, especially in oncology, valued at $100 million in 2019 and more than $500 million since 2010. Novartis medicines reach an estimated 10 million people in Vietnam. As of January 2020, 475 highly skilled Vietnamese associates are working at Novartis Vietnam.

VIR