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Diabetes in Ho Chi Minh City: Rx Trends Reveal Market Shifts

To address Vietnam’s growing diabetes epidemic, healthcare organizations must improve access to high-quality treatments. Efforts are needed throughout the country, but Ho Chi Minh City requires special attention.
As Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) has more diabetics than anywhere else in the country. Incidence of the disease is significantly above the national average. Due to low awareness of the diabetes, many of these patients are undiagnosed. This prevents them from seeking treatment before the disease progresses and leads to serious complications.
mClinica’s prescription datasets provide unique insights on the problem. Every month, we collect and digitize prescriptions from a panel of pharmacies that provides a statistically significant view on the private market. In Q2 2015, prescriptions for diabetes medicines constituted 2.5% of the total sample. By Q1 2016, that soared number to 3.9%. This could mean that more patients are seeking treatment, but it also suggests that incidence of the disease is growing as well.
According to our data, the majority of these patients received prescriptions for older therapies—primarily metformin and sulphonylureas. While the total number of diabetes prescriptions grew significantly, the relative share of older therapies remained constant.
When we dig into these individual medicine categories, however, we see significant shifts in the market. This is particularly true for the DPP4 segment, in which combination therapies uniformly gained prescription share, while monotherapies declined.
We also saw significant shifts in prescribing behavior for insulin products. Last year, premixed insulins dominated the market. Yet Lantus, Sanofi’s long-acting insulin analog, seized a large share of the private market by Q1 2016. As more patients develop late-stage diabetes, we expect the insulin segment to continue grow and prescribing patterns to remain dynamic.
Another notable trend in prescribing patterns is the gradual fragmentation of the market. Last year, the top five hospitals accounted for 29.7% of total diabetes prescriptions in HCMC. In Q1 2016, that share dropped to only 18.7%.
This fragmentation might reflect the growing importance of the private market as a driver of prescriptions for diabetic patients. When we presented this data to multinational pharmaceutical companies in Vietnam, several said that recent changes in reimbursement policies are drawing more diabetic patients to private hospitals and clinics.
mClinica continuously monitors prescription trends in the Vietnam market, and will report further on this in the coming months. The data presented above is just a small snapshot of what our prescription panels capture. Our datasets also include detailed information about epidemiological trends, patient demographics, and prescribing habits.
We are happy to discuss this data with potential partners in the public and private sector. For more information, please contact us.

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