Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The recent resumption of salbutamol imports is to meet the demand for production of medicines containing the substance in hospitals nationwide.
Trương Quốc Cường, head of the Việt Nam Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health, gave this information while speaking to the Vietnam Plus online newspaper yesterday.
Earlier, in August, the administration gave the green light to the Central Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company and the Vacopharm Joint Stock Company to import 50kg of salbutamol each to manufacture medicines.
The decision has sparked public concerns because salbutamol was found to be illegally used in animal breeding in late 2015. The use of the substance in breeding has been banned in Việt Nam since a decade. It stimulates growth in animals and makes them lean.
Cường said when it was discovered that the substance was used in animal breeding, the health ministry ordered a suspension of the import of the substance nationwide.
Following several months of cooperation with the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to correct the situation, the health ministry allowed the two companies to import the substance, he said.
According to Cường, drugs containing salbutamol, included in the list of essential medicines of Việt Nam (issued in December 2013) and the 19th WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (issued in April 2015), are widely used worldwide.
Nebulised salbutamol and salbutamol tablets are particularly necessary to treat respiratory diseases, including asthma. Additionally, salbutamol is also used in obstetrics to control the pain of early labor and postpartum uterine involution.
Meanwhile, statistics from the health ministry showed that Việt Nam currently has over five million people suffering from asthma and more than 1.3 million people with chronic lung disease.
To strictly supervise the use of imported salbutamol, the drug administration had sent messages to the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Agriculture asking them to join hands, Cường said.
The two companies permitted to import salbutamol were ordered to periodically report to the health ministry on the quantity of salbutamol being used to produce medicines, he added. —VNS