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VN consumers lose fight against counterfeit goods

Update: November, 17/2012 - 10:31

CAN THO (VNS)— Vietnamese consumers are presented with an abundance of goods, but it is difficult for them to distinguish between genuine and fake products, experts said at a conference in Can Tho City on Thursday.

This is because the production of and trade in counterfeit goods have become "increasingly complicated," in recent years, they said.

Nguyen Manh Hung, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Standard and Consumer Association (VINASTAS), said counterfeit goods were everywhere and in many sectors, including those with direct impact on citizens' health.

Many fake oriental and western medicines were available in the market, he said, adding that false claims made in advertisements for food supplements could also have dangerous consequences.

VINASTAS recently received a complaint from a patient about the "Tam Nao Khang" food supplement that advertisements said contains a substance that can help patients paralysed by cerebrovascular diseases to stand up. However, the patient's health deteriorated and became more serious after using the product, the conference heard.

Previously, the Can Tho Department of Information and Communication had fined Kim Thuan Bao, a trading firm, for issuing leaflets with false information on the product's usefulness.

However, even after it was fined, the enterprise continued to advertise its product on the mass media and issue leaflets with the same content as before.

While relevant agencies have strengthened inspections and punishment of those producing and trading in fake goods, these measures have to be made much more effective, conference delegates agreed.

Many provincial authorities said a lack of resources, including personnel, made their task more difficult.

Bui Van Ho, chairman of the Standards and Consumer Association of southern Kien Giang Province, said consumers must protect themselves by raising their awareness of counterfeit goods.

In addition, when discovering violations, authorities should publicise them in the mass media so that consumers know and can avoid buying fake goods, he said.

"Businesses themselves have a role to play by improving their public communications and helping people identify fake and substandard goods," conference delegates noted. — VNS

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