Rising incomes and urbanisation drove sales of consumer health over the review period, with a widening focus on health and wellness benefiting sales. However, per capita consumption remains low, with most consumers unable to afford these products, while limited rural distribution also hinders sales and awareness.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a mixed impact on sales of consumer health since 2020. Products perceived to either help prevent infection, such as vitamin C, or which can treat the symptoms, such as analgesics, have been seeing strong growth.
Laos’s public health service system is weak, relying on technical assistance and financial resources from international organisations such as WHO. Government officials, including doctors, nurses, and administrative employees, are paid by the Ministry of Health, which is a considerable amount of the state budget to support their salaries.
In 2022, consumers who can afford additional supplements are turning to internationally branded vitamins, that they purchase from Facebook or pharmacies, this trend is particularly booming in vitamin C. Those with lower incomes can also buy cheaper brands of vitamin C, mainly from chemists/pharmacies.
At the beginning of 2022, the government started to ease COVID-19-related restrictions, and as a result, inbound travel has resumed. For the first few months, as long as travellers presented a PCR test and quarantined upon arrival, they could enter the country.
The registration procedure for medicines was defined in the Law on Drugs and Medical Products (2012). The Bureau of Food and Drug Inspection was further established in 2014 to monitor and inspect the quality of medicines supplied in Laos, with this conducting random checks on chemists/pharmacies to monitor quality and safety and to ensure that outlets are selling only registered products.
Vitamins and dietary supplements must be registered with the Food and Drug Department (FDD) of the Ministry of Health, although there remains no clear classification for these products. Registration is generally permitted based on registration in the country of origin, especially in terms of strength of dosage.
There is thus considerable potential for growth, with disposable income levels expected to rise in the forecast period. Many consumers will thus be able to afford a widening range of consumer health.
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It is the aggregation of OTC, Vitamins and Dietary Supplements (VDS), Sports Nutrition, and Weight Management and WellbeingSee All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Consumer Health research and analysis database.
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