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​Vietnamese pharmaceutical firm’s ex-director faces up to 12 years for smuggling

Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 17:00 GMT+7
​Vietnamese pharmaceutical firm’s ex-director faces up to 12 years for smuggling
Nguyen Minh Hung and his accessories during their trial at the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on August 22, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The former director of Vietnamese pharmaceutical firm VN Pharma is facing 10 to 12 years in prison for importing and distributing substandard cancer medicine.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Procuracy suggested the punishment as the trial of Nguyen Minh Hung, former chairman of the management board and general director of VN Pharma JSC, continued on Tuesday after opening on Monday.

According to the case file, Hung made a deal with Vo Manh Cuong, director of H&C International Trading Shipping Company, in 2013, in which Cuong would help Hung buy 9,000 boxes of H-Capita 500mg, a type of cancer medicine, from abroad.

Cuong bought the drug at US$0.6 per pill and sold it to Hung at $0.9 a pill. The H&C director pocketed some VND2 billion ($80,000) from the agreement.

Nguyen Minh Hung, former chairman of the management board and general director of VN Pharma JSC
Nguyen Minh Hung, former chairman of the management board and general director of VN Pharma JSC

To legalize the distribution of the product, the defendants forged all necessary documents regarding the medicine and submitted them to the Drug Administration of Vietnam under the Ministry of Health.

The fake paperwork stated that the H-Capita 500mg had been manufactured by a company named Helix Canada, while an investigation later revealed that the firm had never been licensed to produce medicine by Canadian authorities.

Meanwhile, other documents relating to the drug’s origin, specifications, and quality assurance were fortified by VN Pharma employees and some pharmacists under Hung’s direction.

During the trial, representatives of the municipal People’s Procuracy stated that all individuals involved must be responsible for the smuggling scheme worth nearly VND5 billion ($220,017), which violated economic management order and compromised the well-being of consumers.

Vo Manh Cuong, director of H&C International Trading Shipping Company
Vo Manh Cuong, director of H&C International Trading Shipping Company

Hung and Cuong had similar roles in this crime, the agency assessed, recommending a 10 to 12 year jail term for the two defendants.

Other VN Pharma ex-officials, namely Nguyen Tri Nhat and Ngo Anh Quoc, who were both deputy general directors, Phan Cam Loan, deputy head of the import-export department, and Le Thi Vu Phuong, chief accountant, are facing four to nine years in prison for smuggling.

Pham Anh Kiet, general director of Saigon Pharmaceutical Company (SAPHARCO), Bui Ngoc Duy, former head of VN Pharma’s R&D Department, and Hoang Van Thong, a pharmacist, can be locked up for two to three years for forging seals and documents of agencies and organizations.

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