The defendants at the court. VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Former Deputy Health Minister Trương Quốc Cường has been sentenced to four years in prison in the first-instance trial of the case relating to the trading of counterfeit medicine labelled 'Health 2000 Canada'.
The verdict cited the official's lack of responsibility causing serious consequences; and abuse of positions and power while on duty, which took place in HCM City, some other localities, and at the Health Ministry’s Drug Administration (DAV).
The Hà Nội People’s Court imposed the sentence on Cường on May 19.
Two other defendants, Nguyễn Việt Hùng, former deputy director of the DAV; and Lê Đình Thanh, a former official of Hồ Chí Minh City Customs Department - were sentenced to three years and two years, respectively, on the same charge.
Two former officials of the DAV – Phạm Hồng Châu and Nguyễn Thị Thu Thủy – were handed four years for abusing positions and power while on duty.
Nine other defendants were given imprisonments ranging from six to 20 years for trading counterfeit medicine.
According to the verdict of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, as head of the DAV from 2007 to 2016, Cường failed to fulfil his responsibility in supervising and inspecting the work of experts in assessing and granting licences for seven kinds of drugs, leading to the approval of dossiers for the import and consumption of six out of the seven counterfeit drugs, labelled 'Health 2000', in Việt Nam with a total value of over VNĐ148 billion.
After the drugs were imported and consumed in Việt Nam, although he received information about the suspected origins of the drugs, Cường did not give direction to stop their circulation, or recall and destroy the drugs. As a result, domestic medical establishments continued to use the supplied counterfeit drugs without clear origin to treat patients at a total value of over VNĐ3.7 billion.
Meanwhile, former DAV deputy director Hùng did not perform his assigned tasks and duties and thus failed to detect and stop the wrongdoings of his subordinates in assessing and licensing the drugs. — VNS