HA NOI — More than 80 per cent of the country's pharmacies reach international standard, however, not all are evenly distributed, said Nguyen Tat Dat, head of the Drug Administration of Viet Nam's Trading Management Division.
Viet Nam now has more than 10,500 drug stores, and more than 8,900 of them reach the Good Pharmacy Practice (GPP) standard, he said in a conference on the role of pharmacies in taking care of community's health held in Ha Noi yesterday.
The stores reaching GPP standard are those supplying medicines of clear origin that come enclosed with necessary information, as are drug retailers that sell prescription-based medicine and provide consultancy for customers. Store owners must also possess pharmaceutical certificates and the sellers must have professional qualifications.
The stores must be at least 10sq.m in size and have an adequate amount of medicine preservation equipment.
According to Dat, the system currently in place supplying medicine in rural areas was weak, and the medicine not well preserved.
In northern Quang Ninh province and in some provinces in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta such as Ben Tre and Ca Mau, only 30 per cent of stores reach GPP standard, whereas in Ha Noi and HCM City the rate is more than 90 per cent.
"The number of GPP drug stores at present ensure the Ministry of Health's itinerary, however, maintaining the results and continuing to improve the role of stores still faces many obstacles," said Dat.
Unfortunately, residents are still in the habit of buying medicine without prescriptions, while the ability of medicine sellers to provide consultancy is unequal in cities and provinces, according to Dat.
As a result, the administration will complete a system of law and regulations for drug stores to meet GPP standard. It will also strengthen pharmacy inspections and encourage more in-store self-training.
The administration would also disseminate medical programmes via multi media formats to improve residents' awareness of purchasing prescription-based medicine, and set up chains of GPP-standard stores to make them easier for residents to access, said Dat.
Maintaining the GPP standard required the co-ordination of agencies from grassroots levels, he said, before adding that local authorities should supply information about drug stores to medical stations to create a better understanding among doctors, pharmacists and residents. — VNS