Stricter Drug Prices in Vietnam

Earlier this spring, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health conducted drug price audits with recent reports of price hikes. Visiting local pharmacies, representative offices of pharmaceutical firms and drug wholesalers, the Ministry of Health found 13 pharmaceutical companies increasing prices without appropriate government approval. Seven of the 13 were foreign companies, and the Ministry of Health has ordered all of them to reduce drug prices back to their December 2006 prices.

For price changes, the importer and product registration owner needs to notify the Drug Administration of Vietnam (DAV) and provide appropriate information such as import costs, product costs and taxes. The DAV will impose penalty fees for any unauthorized price increases. They also plan to conduct audits to ensure prices are adjusted accordingly.

Previously, pharmaceutical companies did not need to wait for price approval before putting their products on sale. In addition, some companies violated regulations by not listing prices or registering their prices with the government. The DAV has ordered that price increases must be made public. There has also been discussion of publishing a list of approved drug prices.

Vietnam’s Department of Pharmaceutical Management plans to reorganize price listings so that prices chosen cannot be higher than those in countries with similar health and economic conditions as Vietnam. Several pharmaceutical products will be affected, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and pain relievers.

Due to price increases and markups through intermediaries, the Ministry of Health also plans to reorganize pharmaceutical sales and distribution. The Ministry plans to issue requirements on GDP (Good Distribution Practices), GPP (Good Pharmacy Practices), and GSP (Good Storage Practices). Non-compliant companies will have their pharmaceutical product trading licenses revoked. In addition, the Department of Pharmaceutical Management also plans to carry out unannounced inspections on pharmaceutical retailers.