Ministry of Health (MoH), Vietnam, plans to introduce the Good Pharmaceutical Practice standards to drug stores nationwide

In order to provide a better service to the people, the Ministry of Health (MoH) plans to introduce the Good Pharmaceutical Practice standards to drug stores nationwide.

Although under current Vietnamese laws foreign pharmaceutical companies are not allowed to directly participate in either the whole or retail sale of drugs, the MoH has encouraged them to co-operate and share their experiences and knowledge with the ministry and local pharmaceutical companies, particularly in the field of personnel training.

Currently, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Trade and Industry jointly signed the Ministerial Circular for drug price management. Its key objective is to provide a legal foundation for controlling drug prices in the market. Foreign companies are interested in knowing about Vietnam’s point of view on Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) near border gates as well as production costs and projected wholesale and retail prices. What’s more important is that they want to know what they should do if they want to adjust the wholesale or retail price. Deputy Minister of Health Cao Minh Quang foreign pharmaceutical companies and their role in the domestic market.

When the companies import the drugs, they must fill out the customs declaration forms. That’s a normal practice. In addition, concerned Vietnamese agencies work closely with other regional countries having similar economic and trade conditions with their CIF policies and market information in general. This is a very important information channel.

At present, there are more than 18,000 products derived from roughly 1,500 active elements. So we have to make a prioritised list, starting with the 770 elements and 8,000-9,000 products listed to be used in Medicare and public hospitals.

According to Cao Minh Quang, drugs prescribed for children under six years old, poor people and people covered by Medicare must be strictly controlled. The next group will be drugs used in the public hospitals, including antibiotic drugs and painkillers, which account for nearly 75 per cent of drugs.

Worthy of note is that drug prices in the market are rather stabilized among the nation’s 647 hospitals. The 2006 list of drugs serves as a good reference and framework for management agencies to protect them from drug-price hikes that may occur in the market.  Both Vietnamese and foreign drug companies have expressed their desire to have good and transparent control by the MoH of the supply of drug ingredients.