Vietnam Officials Meet to Curb Rising Drug Prices

In April 2010, various officials of the Drug Administration Agency, Ministry of Health, and drug companies met in Hanoi to have a discussion on the rising cost of drugs in Vietnam. In recent years, there has been growing public outcry against the price increase. The public claims that low income patients are currently unable to purchase essential drugs. However, even after this meeting, the government still offers no solution.

The Vietnamese government passed a law on drug prices five years ago. Because drugs are traded goods, their prices are determined by the market. Government policy cannot control drug prices. Some officials argue that drug costs are in fact stable when compared to other goods in the consumer price index. Others, such as the Vice Chairman of the Committee on Social Affairs at the National Assembly Office, called for the government to control at least several hundred essential drugs. The public currently uses more than 20,000 different kinds.