Viet Nam News -
HÀ NỘI (VNS) –– The Ministry of Health has sent an urgent notice to the National Steering Committee, which confirmed there was no evidence to prove the non-prescribed sale of salbutamol for animal breeding.
The medication is used to treat respiratory diseases.
The use of salbutamol in animal breeding has been banned in Việt Nam for a decade.
In its notice, the ministry said in the two years in question, 2014 and 2015, only 20 enterprises were granted licences to import salbutamol with volumes of 3.9 tonnes and 5.2 tonnes respectively.
Currently, there are 150 enterprises with export-import trading certificates and 153 enterprises that possessed certificates for imported medicine production, including salbutamol.
Responding to reports that salbutamol was likely to be used illegally for animal feedings to stimulate growth in the animals and make them lean, the ministry’s Drug Management Administration had stopped the import of the substance last November.
The department, in co-operation with the police department, had also inspected 10 businesses that imported the substance and found violations, such as selling the substance to businesses that were not licensed to sell medicines.
The administration had suspended the operations of three pharmaceutical companies and revoked their business licences. It also handed over the three cases to the police for further investigation.
The police reported there was not enough evidence to prosecute two of the pharmaceutical companies for producing, storing, transporting and trading banned goods under current regulations.
The police are still investigating the third company.
Last December, the use of banned substances, such as salbutamol, had been detected in three southern cities and provinces of HCM City, Đồng Nai and Bình Dương and five northern cities and provinces of Hà Nội, Bắc Giang, Bắc Ninh, Hải Dương and Hưng Yên.
Results showed 16 per cent of the tested meat samples contained salbutamol, and 80 per cent of the inspected animal feed producers were found to be using the banned substance.
The ministry said salbutamol was a vital medication used in the treatment of asthma, exercise-induced bronchospasm, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and high blood potassium levels. It has proposed adding salbutamol to the list of substances that need to be controlled strictly. –– VNS