Chairman of the Veterinary Medicine Producers' Association, Hoang Trieu, told Tin tuc (News) newspaper about legal loopholes in veterinary medicine management.
What are your views on the veterinary medicine market in Viet Nam?
The veterinary medicine market has more than 2,000 drugs. These do not include the imported ones. These medicines, which include vaccines, are mainly used to treat lung, digestive and restorative diseases.
From the beginning of 2014, all veterinary medicine manufacturing enterprises have had to meet the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards. There are currently 50 GMP enterprises producing veterinary medicines in Viet Nam. Prices of veterinary medicines have also been raised as manufacturers have had to invest up to VND20 and 30 billion (US$1 to 1.5 million) in order to meet GMP requirements.
All producers have now met GMP standards but agents selling veterinary medicines have yet to do so. It is also a fact that GMP medicines have been stored in unhygienic conditions by retail agents. So, we have only reached halfway in applying GMP standards in veterinary medicine.
Poor preservation will reduce the quality and life of veterinary medicines and vaccines. Giving substandard medicines and vaccines will also result in the death of poultry while animal and domestic fowl will not be protected from diseases or epidemic.
It is a fact that vaccinated poultry still contracted bird flu A/H5N1 virus because of the unhygienic conditions in which vaccines were preserved. Inadequate skills of veterinarians and lack of awareness of farmers were also reasons for veterinary medicines being ineffective. Unfortunately, breeders were the ones who always faced the consequences.
What measures should agriculture take to ensure veterinary medicines for farmers?
I believe it is very important to tighten management of veterinary medicines and vaccine preservation along with drug quality at retail agents and shops. At the moment, most agents have not met drugstore requirements. For example, the store room is equipped with air conditioners with room temperatures at 20 degrees Celsius, while vaccines should be stored in freezers.
Most of the shops do not post a public bill of medicine prices, and that is a violation of current trading regulations. The department of animal health should advise the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to restore the order of the veterinary medicine distribution system from central to local levels.
In my opinion, it is essential to apply GMP regulations to veterinary medicine retail shops in an effort to ensure quality for farmers.
What are your recommendations for breeders?
Breeders should implement the dictum "prevention is better than cure." At the moment, all localities have applied a process to ensure disease prevention and people should strictly follow that process. For example, pigs must be given a cholera vaccine first while for ducks it is cholera and flu vaccines.
Most people have been aware of epidemic prevention. However, I still want to warn that vaccination should be given with care and vaccines must be protected in ideal storage conditions.
From my point of view, owners of veterinary medicine trading units should have college degrees to manage GMP production enterprises. Retail shops should also meet GMP regulations including air conditioners for medicine preservation. — VNS