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VN Pharma’s appeal in court continues

Update: October, 24/2017 - 07:00
Former VN Pharma chairman of the Board of Directors-cum-general director Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng at the appeal court on Monday. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HCM CITYFormer VN Pharma chairman of the Board of Directors-cum-general director Nguyễn Minh Hùng and former director of H&C International Marine Trade Company Võ Mạnh Cường on Monday afternoon received temporary arrest warrants issued by the Judicial Council during a trial relating to their involvement in VN Pharma’s fraudulent cancer drug import. 

The arrest warrants are valid for 90 days to serve investigation and trial processes. 

It is the second time Hùng and Cường have been temporarily arrested. The first arrest was conducted on September 19, 2014 for the charge of smuggling cancer drugs but they were later released on bail on March 17, 2017. 

Right after hearing the issuance of the arrest warrants, Hùng tumbled down and only recovered after receiving medical aid.

The appeal trial against pharmaceutical company VN Pharma for smuggling and forging documents to import  9,300 boxes of H-Capita 500mg in 2013 last Thursday by the high-level People’s Court in HCM City.

It was scheduled to close on Monday but on Monday morning the judge postponed delivering the judgment and continued the trial, saying the court needed clarification on several matters.

Besides Hùng and Cường, seven other defendants are involved in the case.

During the first hearing in August, the HCM City People’s Court sentenced Hùng and Cường to 12 years in prison for smuggling and forging documents to import a cancer drug. Cường bought the drugs from an overseas source and later sold them to VN Pharma. Hùng asked his company personnel to make up fake technical documents for the imported cancer drug H-Capita so that they could submit the required dossier to the Ministry of Health’s Drug Administration of Việt Nam.

Hùng and Cường appealed against the court’s judgment at the first trial hearing, asking for a lighter sentence.

On September 22, the high-level People’s Procuracy in HCM City protested against the court’s judgment, asking for a clarification on Hùng’s charge, which should have been “smuggling” or “manufacturing and/or trading in fake goods claiming to be curative medicines, preventive medicines”.

The People’s Procuracy also asked for clarification on the alleged irresponsibility of the drug administration in allowing Hùng and other defendants to import the alleged fake cancer drugs into Việt Nam, while also giving commission to doctors to prescribe the drug to patients.

On Monday morning, Hùng denied the accusation that the company spent VNĐ7.5 billion (US$330,000) to give commission to doctors.

He said the company earned the sum by increasing the price of the medicine and that amount was given to the company’s sales personnel.

Former vice director general of VN Pharma Ngô Anh Quốc confirmed this information in court. However, the testimonies on Monday conflicted with previous ones, and therefore the judge asked prosecutors to further investigate the matter.

Cường showed the court a licence granted by the Drug Administration of Việt Nam (DAV) on June 18, 2014 to Helix Canada - the foreign company that provided the cancer drug to VN Pharma.

The licence for foreign companies conducting operations in medicines and raw medical material in Việt Nam was granted to Helix Canada, but the Ministry of Public Security has confirmed that Helix Canada was a “fake” company, particularly after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs found no Helix Pharmaceuticals Inc at 392 Wilson Ave, Toronto, Canada, the head office address stated on documents submitted to DAV.

This means the origin of cancer drug H-Capital 500mg caplet, imported by VN Pharma, was unknown. — VNS

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