Increase in marketed substandard medicine

Drug quality control systems have many problems, resulting in substandard medicines on the market, said an official at a meeting held by Vietnamese Ministry of Health (MoH) on March 25 in Hanoi.

Poor knowledge, inadequate facilities, lack of skilled investigators and overly complex management systems are proving to be obstacles for adequate drug quality control, Nguyen Viet Hung, deputy head of Drug Administrations of Vietnam (DAV) pointed out.

There has been in an increase in the number of poor quality medicines being seized and destroyed. In 2001 55 medicines were seized but 2008 this had risen to 99. Seized imported poor quality drugs accounted for 35 percent of the haul.

From 2001 to 2008, over three percent of poor quality medicines have been revoked.

In 2008, there were over 2,000 reports of adverse drug reactions sent to DAV. Almost all the cases concerned were antibiotics, cardiotonic and pain relief medicine.

Dr. Nguyen Dang Hoa, deputy director of the Hanoi-based Pharmacy University, complained that very few medical clinics nationwide provide information on adverse drug reaction, as well as a lack of overview by medical councils.

Drug makers and distributors attach too much weight to advertising rather than warnings of possible side-effects, he added.

Deputy Health Minister Cao Minh Quang said that the MoH will put a pharmacy information system in place by 2015.

They system will provide drug information, including prices, producer, possible side-effects, prescription, doses and drug quality.

The MoH will also provide training for 10,000 pharmacy students to help run the system.

A pharmacy center to offer drug information will be constructed in the Pharmacy University in Hanoi.

By Q.Lap - Translated by Hoang Hai

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