Health Minister Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến. — Photo MoH
Health Minister Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến, spoke to newspaper Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam (Việt Nam Economic Times) on the plan to introduce electronic prescriptions nationwide
Why are electronic prescriptions better than written ones?
First of all I should say that the electronic prescriptions are meant to reduce the risks associated with traditional methods. It is also one of the major reasons for the push towards electronic medical records.
In Viet Nam, e-prescriptions have been applied in all 63 provinces nationwide, with technological support from Viettel, VNPT, FPT and others. By now, some 15,178 pharmacies, accounting for about 82.76 per cent of pharmacies nationwide, use the technology.
We hope that by 2020 electronic prescriptions will be used nationwide to ensure the connection between physicians, pharmacists, nurses and patients.
By sharing medical information, e-prescriptions seek to connect the patient’s team of healthcare providers to help decision making.
Can you tell us a bit more about negotiations on drug prices with pharmaceutical companies in accordance with the 2016 Law on Pharmacy?
The Ministry of Health has already started its negotiations with pharmaceutical companies on the basis of the Law on Bidding and Decree No.63/CP on the application of the Bidding Law. In the meantime, the MOH has already issued Circular No.11 on how to conduct a drug price negotiation.
Meanwhile, the MOH has created a special Negotiation Council headed by an MOH Deputy Minister as its Chairman and a Deputy Director General of the Việt Nam Insurance Company as its Vice-Chairman. Members of the Negotiation Council include representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Việt Nam Social Insurance and representatives from MOH departments and concerned agencies and pharmaceutical experts.
A number of negotiations have been conducted and positive results have been achieved. The most notable success is that drug prices have been reduced by 18.55% compared with the drug price offered in the bidding documents. More importantly, everything has been conducted in a transparent manner.
Regarding the MOH’s mission in 2019, we will continue to negotiate on the price of proprietary medicines towards the goal of cutting drug prices in line with the Government’s policy.
What achievements were made in the process of drug procurement in 2018?
In 2018, drug bidding brought about positive results for the public health sector. For example, we organised several bidding sessions for ARV drugs and saved a lot of money for our health insurance budget.
Lessons learned in 2018 will help us to cut the cost of HIV treatment.
At present the MOH has been conducting a study to report to the Prime Minister and the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on a pilot programme on national bidbing for drugs and medical equipment and facilities. Results of the bid will then be used as a reference for all units or health facilities to refer to in their drug procurement or medical facilities. — VNS