Drug Price Controls to Tighten in Vietnam
Vietnamese authorities have launched a series of measures in recent months to restrain rising drug prices. A law under debate in the country's legislature calls for the government to ensure that domestic drug prices are no higher than in other countries in the region, as well as the creation of a Drug Council to coordinate policy with other state agencies and businesses. The measures are expected to be approved in mid-April.
Meanwhile, government statements indicate that health authorities will "severely
punish" drug dispensers and pharmacists raising prices on drugs without
prior official permission. The government insists that measures taken since
mid-2004 to impose controls on the drug market have stabilised prices, but selling
prices on some antibiotics and other basic products are reported to have risen
by up to 50% since the start of the year. In February, the government set a
deadline for drug traders to submit detailed pricing plans for official approval,
apparently in return for speedier drug approvals and greater control over local
"generics" production. Meanwhile, leading pharmaceuticals makers continue
to criticise inadequate sector regulation, with unclear competition policy and
wide-scale copying placing a brake on industry development.