Guide to Health Supplement Registration in Vietnam

This article provides an overview of what foreign investors need to know in order to be successful in health supplement registration in Vietnam.

Foreign health products are dominating the Vietnamese market. With a small Vietnamese production and just a few varieties, Vietnamese clients are highly dependent on international brands.

In comparison to other countries, the Vietnamese health product market started to boom quite late. It was in the 1990s when the first imported products entered Vietnam with the majority of products imported from the United States, China, South Korea or Belgium.

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Now, with the growing nation’s demand for health-related as well as personal care products, the market is seeing a rapid increase every year.

This article provides an essential overview of what foreign investors, entering the health supplement market in Vietnam, should be aware of in order to succeed from the very first step of product registration for health supplements.

The competent authority for health supplements and health food products in Vietnam is the Vietnam Food Administration (VFA) under the Ministry of Health (MoH).

This authority is not only responsible for collecting and approving registrations of investors who intend to sell their health supplements in Vietnam, but also for the issuance of related regulations.

In February 2018, VFA announced and updated the Guidance on the Implementation of a Few Articles of the Food Safety Law. The authority also set out a food safety audit and inspection responsibilities for agencies.

Health Supplement in Vietnam: Definition

Products that humans eat or drink are considered food without any restrictions based on their forms such as fresh, raw, processed, or preserved. However, medical products, tobacco, or cosmetics are excluded from this definition.

Furthermore, there are several sub-definitions of different kinds of food such as nutritional food, genetically-modified food (GMOs), fresh food, functional food, irradiated food or even packaged food.

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Functional food defines food that is used to enhance and support human body functions and to provide nutrition in order to minimise pathogenic risks to the body. Importantly, health supplements are considered one of the functional foods.

How to Register a Health Supplement in Vietnam?

Before we get to the registration process itself, let us specify several requirements with which entrepreneurs who want to register their health supplements in Vietnam must comply.

Product Labeling

In addition to general regulations, the following are the main requirements for the promotion of health supplements in Vietnam:

  • Product name: The product name must appear on the label and correspond to the title filed with the officials.
  • List of ingredients: An exhaustc list of ingredients, including excipients and active components, must be included on the label. The informaion must be presented in order of high to low weight within the merchandise.
  • Dosage: The recommended dosage or use must be stated on the product’s container.
  • Health claims: Health claims must adhere to Ministry of Health guidelines and be supported by adequate scientific research.
  • Storage instructions: To maintain the product’s quality and effectiveness, the packaging must provide specific directions for handling temperature, humidity, and other factors.
  • Expiry date: The sticker must list the product’s expiry date and the storage recommendations required to preserve its effectiveness and quality until then.
  • Manufacturer information: The name and address of the manufacturer, importer, or dealer shall be indicated on the sticker.
  • Barcode: The requirements set by the Ministry of Science and Technology must be met by a barcode for health goods.

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Safety and Hygiene

Health, safety, and sanitation standards must be fulfilled before your goods can be licensed and sold in Vietnam.

The Certificate on Satisfaction of Standards on Food Hygiene and Safety is necessary for all companies and product owners. The Hygienic Environmental Requirements also stipulate that all structures used for manufacturing, marketing goods, and rendering services must be kept in top condition and updated regularly.

From production to sales, every employee who comes into contact with health goods, including the company owner, must regularly endure health exams to confirm that their present health status complies with Ministry of Health (MoH) standards.

These employees also need to have a training certificate on file. This is done to ensure they fully understand the policies and criteria for food safety and hygiene.

Application Dossier

Manufacturers and sellers of health supplements in Vietnam must register their products with the Ministry of Health (MoH) as one of the regulated dietary categories.

Registration Procedure

The licensing process for health supplements usually takes four wekks from the time the document is filed. Notably, the record that the MoH issues needs a specific expiration date once approved.

The following documentation is needed for overseas health products:

  1. Declaration form
  2. Documents that prove consumer safety or permit the free sale of goods in the country of birth or exportation include certificates of free sale, exportation certificates, and health certificates (the document must be legalized through the consular process).
  3. Duplicate of a laboratory report originally approved and given within a year of the product’s application for food safety by an ISO 17025 – compliant or certified lab.
  4. Scientific evidence of the effects of a drug or component (original or authenticated copy). If the impact of the ingredients is supported by scientific research, the daily dose of those ingredients must be higher than or equivalent to 15% of their stated value.
  5. A Certificate for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) or a comparable paper.

Consult the Professional for Supplement Registration in Vietnam

The quality of your health product’s registration will determine how well it performs on the Vietnamese market, so don’t compromise on this duty.

Contact InCorp Vietnam to speak with the experts, and we’ll provide you with a free estimate and support you throughout the process. Just fill in the form below.

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Tomas Svoboda - Cekindo - Vietnam Country Manager

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Ing. Tomas Svoboda

Tomas is the co-founder & Chief Business Development Officer responsible for Vietnam. His role is to define the key potential of the Vietnamese market and to ensure that Incorp's branch in Vietnam provides its clients with smooth and hassle-free market entry solutions.

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