|Former Deputy Minister of Health Trương Quốc Cường at court in Hà Nội on Thursday. — Photo danviet.vn
HÀ NỘI — Former Deputy Minister of Health Trương Quốc Cường has started appeal proceedings to have his four year jail term reduced.
The High-Level People’s Court in Hà Nội on Thursday opened the appeal in the ex-official who was involved in the importation of counterfeit drugs.
As well as Cường, Nguyễn Việt Hùng, former Deputy Director of the Health Ministry’s Drug Administration (DAV); and Lê Đình Thanh, a former official of the HCM City Customs Department, were sentenced to three years and two years respectively.
Two former officials of the DAV, Phạm Hồng Châu and Nguyễn Thị Thu Thủy, got four years for abusing positions and power while on duty.
Nine other defendants were given sentences ranging from two to 16 years for trading counterfeit medicine.
Out of all those convicted, Cường and eight others are appealing the sentences, seeking reduced jail terms or suspended sentences.
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 the six out of the seven counterfeit drugs, labelled Health 2000 Canada, in Việt Nam with a total value of over VNĐ148 billion (US$6.43 million).
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 supplied counterfeit drugs labelled Health 2000 Canada without clear origins to treat patients at a total value of over VNĐ3.7 billion.
Meanwhile, former DAV deputy director Nguyễn Việt Hùng did not perform properly his assigned tasks and duties thus failing to detect and stop wrongdoings of his subordinates in assessing and licensing the drugs. — VNS