Sale of stockpiled medicine to help ensure supply, low prices

Published: 03/12/2010 05:00



health ministry plans to sell stockpiled medicine reserves as one of the
measures to manage drug prices and ensure sufficient supplies for health
treatment, according to deputy minister Cao Minh Quang.

A pharmacy in northern Phu Tho Province’s Viet Tri
Town. The Health Ministry said it would not allow drugstores to increase
medicine prices in the coming period. (Photo: VNS)

The national medicine
circulation reserve plan allowed the ministry to sell reserve medicines in case
of necessity at a market equivalent or lower prices, he said at a meeting held
on Tuesday, as part of the implementation of the Prime

Minister’s directive on
price stabilisation measures.

Three State-owned
companies were taking part in the reserve plan with between 3,000-3,500 kinds of
drugs and treatments stockpiled and these could be released for sale at any
time, he said.

“The ministry would
also use medicine circulation capital reserves to purchase rare medicines for
sale to meet public demand.”

inspectors would inspect medicine prices at localities nationwide next week, he

“Ten central-level
delegations will check medicine prices in big cities like Ha Noi, HCM City, Da
Nang, Hue city, Can Tho, and Hai Phong.”

Medicine prices set by
major producers, foreign-invested companies, importers, exporters and shopping
centres would also be inspected with the aim of tightening control over medicine
prices, in order to ensure future rises are curbed, Quang said.

He affirmed that the
ministry would not allow businesses to increase medicine prices in the coming
period, adding that the Drug Administration of Viet Nam recently received up to
1,600 applications by companies to increase medicine prices but all of them had
been denied.

However, he said,
these were just initial measures but for long-term solutions, the ministry would
invite businesses to tender for medical supply contracts with hospitals to reach
a common price and amend the pharmaceutical law to recover shortcomings in
management tasks.

Minister Nguyen Quoc
Trieu said the ministry and relevant agencies were hastening the reform of
regulations and legal documents related to medicine prices in order to address

However, he said, it
was essential to maintain a balance between supply and demand in order to
prevent further price increases.

“Medicine supply
sources need to be guaranteed through granting import licences and speeding up
distribution,” Trieu stressed.

The ministry was
finalising a draft regulation to better manage drug stores at hospitals towards
reducing retailer mark-ups.

Trieu required
authorised health agencies to carry out spot-checks on the implementation of the
price regulations.

“Violators will be
strictly punished and exposed in the media to warn those considering similar
infringements,” he said.

Figures from the
General Statistics Office showed that drugs and pharmaceutical products had
increased in price, but lower than other kinds of commodities.

Medicine prices
increased by 3.2-3.5 per cent from late 2009 to October this year while the
consumer price index of other basic commodities rose 8.6 per cent.

Nam News

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