Thursday, December 3 2020

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Heavier fines for inflating prices of medical equipment

Update: October, 24/2020 - 13:55

Deputy head of the Legal Affairs Department under the Ministry of Health Trần Thị Trang talks to Sức khoẻ & Đời sống (Health & Life) newspaper about the recently issued Government Decree No 117/2020 outlining heavy sanctions for administrative violations in the medical field, especially price inflating of anti-epidemic equipment

Any business caught unreasonable inflating the price of a medical drug or equipment can be fined from VNĐ20-30 million according to the new decree. Is this a step in the right decision?

To define how much the sanction should be, it must be based on the level of its negative impacts in real life, including the country’s economic conditions and the price index at that time.

Besides a fine, we should also apply the retrieval of the business certificate and others. In addition, the culprit has to pay back to either the seller or the buyer the extra money that they earned in the dirty deal or even return the money to the State.

In reality, the retrieval of the business licence is considered the hardest sanction.

Can you explain how a price is defined as reasonable for both the buyer and the seller?

The main tool to be applied in such a case is based on the Law on Price which was passed by the National Assembly on June 20, 2012.

And in a special case, agencies may conduct a survey on the pricing appraisal to define what price is acceptable.

At present, many Vietnamese enterprises are involved in drugs, medical equipment, drug raw materials and others. How can agencies detect which business actives are violating the law?

I’m confident that through regular strict inspection visits coupled with good campaigns on mass communication activities to both the business enterprises and the general public, we will win in the fight against fraudulent activities.

Do you believe good law enforcement will make these regulations be strictly implemented?

No doubt about that. It is very important to implement all the measures together, particularly mass communication activities to business enterprises and the public. In addition, functional agencies should regularly conduct training courses to improve the capacity for people working in law enforcement on how to detect wrongful acts.

The new decree also clearly states the rights and responsibility for each office and authority while they are executing their missions.

More importantly, in November, the National Assembly is expected pass the Revised Law on Handling Administrative Violations, including the application of a fine like that of the speeding camera ticket.

I’m confident when this law comes into force, it will help the people to have better access to medical drugs and equipment, particularly in the context of the pandemic. — VNS

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