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​​Drug administration responsible for VN Pharma’s import of substandard cancer medicine: court

​​Drug administration responsible for VN Pharma’s import of substandard cancer medicine: court

Tuesday, November 07, 2017, 19:14 GMT+7

Oversight and irresponsibility by the agency led to the serious incident

A superior court in Ho Chi Minh City has laid responsibility for the importation of substandard cancer medicine by local pharmaceutical firm VN Pharma, at the feet of the Drug Administration of Vietnam.

It found that the drug administration under the Ministry of Health had committed violations in the VN Pharma case, the Superior People’s Court said on Monday, adding that the individuals responsible should be sanctioned.

According to the case file, Nguyen Minh Hung, former chairman of the management board and general director of VN Pharma JSC, and his five co-accused imported a type of cancer medicine called H-Capita 500mg, of unknown origin.

A recent evaluation by the health ministry revealed that H-Capita 500mg contained 97 percent capecitabine, an ingredient that is poor in quality, and not to be used for human consumption.  

To legalize their import, the suspects faked several documents regarding the nature of the drug.

Despite this, the Drug Administration of Vietnam agreed to issue an import license and permit the circulation of the shipment.

This reflects an oversight and irresponsibility by the agency’s officials, the court said.

The drug administration was also expected to verify the existence of the Helix Canada Company, from which Hung and his accomplices claimed to purchase the substandard medicine.

However, evidence and records showed that a verification had not been carried out.

“This is a serious error,” the court stated.

Do Van Dong, deputy head of the Drug Administration of Vietnam, was a member of the appraisal board which carried out the assessment of the medical shipment.

Given Dong is now among the officials whose responsibility is being questioned, the court suggested a re-examination of the drug to ensure an objective result.

Last week, the health ministry insisted that it had abided by all current regulations in the licensing of VN Pharma’s imports.

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