VN must clearly determine pharmaceutical sector’s goals for the future

March 31, 2023 - 08:12
The pharmaceutical sector plays an important role in healthcare, meaning development goals must be established.
A production line of medicine at Bình Định Pharmaceutical and Medical Equipment Joint Stock Company (BIDIPHAR) in the province of Bình Định.— VNA/VNS Photo Dương Ngọc

HÀ NỘI — The pharmaceutical sector plays an important role in healthcare, meaning development goals must be established.

Deputy Prime Minister Trần Hồng Hà made the statement on Wednesday afternoon after hearing a report on the draft National Strategy for the development of Việt Nam’s pharmaceutical sector by 2030.

Hà said the draft strategy not only sets out the goals of the Government but also of the whole political system to improve the sector's capability and the quality of healthcare.

Thus, the drafting agency needs to consider suitable goals to develop the sector and meet public demand, he said.

"The goals must be finished,” he said.

“And there has to be a clear direction and roadmap to carry them out,” he said.

It is necessary to clarify the ability to self-produce medicinal materials, the ranking of the Vietnamese pharmaceutical sector in research, production and product quality compared to other countries; as well as strike a balance between the development of a modern pharmaceutical sector and traditional medicine in order to promote the inherent potential and strengths, he said.

The capability of the domestic pharmaceutical sector must be defined when participating in the global pharmaceutical production and consumption chain as well as the ability to attract investors, owners of medicinal materials and technology transfer, he said.

More attention should be paid to the field of clinical pharmacy, assessing the effectiveness of drug use in health facilities, towards providing suitable and affordable drugs for patients, he said.

Managerial agencies, domestic and foreign pharmaceutical enterprises need to jointly share technology, harmonise interests in the production, supply and distribution of good quality drugs and reasonable prices, he said.

Specifically, by 2025, the strategy must identify priorities in investment in people, facilities, mechanisms and policies to develop the sector, he said.

The goals of the strategy must be feasible, competitive, effective and take advantage of the potential and strengths of the country, raising the rank of the pharmaceutical sector, he said.

Lê Quang Cường, former deputy minister of health said the demand for essential and common therapeutic drugs has been guaranteed so far, therefore, the pharmaceutical sector needs to focus on researching, testing and producing specialised and rare drugs.

Trịnh Văn Lẩu, former director of the National Institute of Drug Quality Control, suggested that there should be an institutional breakthrough to create favourable conditions and encourage enterprises to research and develop, receive and transfer technology for the production of modern drugs.

Supply of drugs

In a report revealed by the health ministry on Wednesday, the pharmaceutical sector has ensured the supply of drugs at reasonable prices, meeting the requirements of medical examination, treatment and prevention since 2011.

Drug production has been expanded with 228 factories meeting World Health Organisation - Good Manufacturing Practices (WHO-GMP) standards, including 18 production lines that have met European - Good Manufacturing Practices (EU-GMP) standards.

The total domestic pharmaceutical market value last year was estimated at US$6.2 billion.

The rate of unqualified drugs remained below two per cent. Domestically-produced versions meet 11 out of 12 vaccines in the country's expanded immunisation programme.

Drug distribution and supply management activities are increasingly standardised, increasing people's access to drugs.

However, the report also pointed out several shortcomings such as many domestic drug factories only invest in production lines focusing on common drugs instead of generic, specialised and brand-name drugs.

More than 90 per cent of raw materials for domestic drug production are still imported. The potential and strengths of traditional medicine have not been promoted, and there is a lack of human resources in the field of clinical pharmacy, quality management, research and development of new drugs. — VNS