Foreign pharmaceutical firms look for clearer regulations

Published: 14/01/2009 05:00



VietNamNet BridgeWith Viet Nam’s entry into the WTO, foreign pharmaceutical firms gained the right to import and distribute pharmaceuticals in the country. Viet Nam News speaks with representatives of foreign drug companies.

Beginning from January 1st, 2009, foreign drug companies have the right to directly import and distribute its products in Viet Nam’s market.

The difficulties for foreign companies that we stated last year are pretty much the same as the difficulties we face in Viet Nam this year. However, there is a possible development this morning, as the minister of health is looking at the way of providing specific positive factors. They said that they will change a particular regulation, so that it will be more in line with international standards. It is a move that we very much welcome.

I don’t think that the regulation giving the international pharmaceutical companies the right to import and export by themselves will disturb the balance between foreign and local companies as we see today. I do believe that foreign companies will be investing more in Viet Nam; I also believe that they will collaborate more with the local companies. Therefore, I think that the Vietnamese population and society will gain from giving access to international companies. I don’t think that you will see that local companies will have a lower or higher market shares.

I think that retail distribution is not what we do best. What we do best is to develop and bring high quality products into the market. And then somebody else cares about distribution. I think that you have to remember that Viet Nam is a very long country and transportation is very difficult. I believe that local companies are the best at distribution in Viet Nam. Now, you should properly propose the question to those that deal with distribution, which is not my concern.

* Tran Bich Ha, Deputy General Director of Zuellig Pharma Viet Nam:

As we know, beginning from January 1st, 2009, foreign drug companies have the right to directly import and distribute its products in Viet Nam’s market. However, pharmaceutical products are special commodities. So in pharmaceutical field, foreign companies only have the right of direct import; distribution must still be done through intermediary companies. The activities of drug distribution through a middleman will limit the independence of importers.

At the moment, the MoH and the Ministry of Industry and Trade are drafting instructions to guide the operation of foreign companies in importing and exporting pharmaceutical products. The instruction will concretise major contents of Decree 23 of the Prime Minister and Decision No 10 of the Ministry of Industry and Trade on direct importation/exportation and distribution. We expect that the instruction will be clear and detailed enough for importers to avoid law violations.

* Kim Seung Ho, Representative of Korea United Pharma Inc:

In the beginning when we first came into Viet Nam, it was quite difficult to operate. But nowadays there is more standardisation in all procedures. We are very happy to work with the Drug Administration of Viet Nam and the MoH. We need the system to be more computerised, more systematised and formalised. It must be made better for us.

Now the Government allows me to import drugs directly under my name. The procedure is easier than before. For me, compared to five years or ten years ago, there is now much improvement. Of course, we need improvements so there is more systematised by computerisation. We also need more feedback whenever we have troubles to solve those problems.

(Source: Viet Nam News)

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