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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Health deputy minister charged for involvement in fake-drug import

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Investigators of the Ministry of Public Security have launched criminal proceedings against Deputy Minister of Health Truong Quoc Cuong for his alleged dereliction of duty in VN Pharma’s fake cancer drug import and trade.

The Supreme People’s Procuracy earlier approved the ministry’s decisions to file criminal proceedings against Cuong, aged 60.

The charges followed a broader investigation into the Vietnamese pharmaceutical firm’s trading in fake drugs labeled Health 2000 Canada, based on Article 360 of the Penal Code.

The case emerged while Cuong was serving as head of the Vietnam Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health from 2007. Since 2016, he has been holding the post of deputy minister of Health.

As a mastermind behind the import of the fake cancer drug, Nguyen Minh Hung, former chairman and general director of Vietnam Pharma JSC (VN Pharma); Vo Manh Cuong, former director of H&C Company; and seven other accomplices were charged with trading in fake drugs.

Deputy Minister of Health Cuong said that information and documents submitted to the Vietnam Drug Administration in 2014 did not have a sufficient basis to stop the circulation of the drug labeled Health 2000, according to the investigators.

At that time, as head of the administration, Cuong directed the relevant agencies to contact the Canadian side over the drug import in line with the prevailing regulations. However, the Canadian side did not reply, so Cuong transferred relevant documents to the Ministry of Public Security.

In addition, the administration also proposed the customs agency suspend the import of the Health 2000 Canada drug.

The results of the investigation into the case showed that the chairman of VN Pharma colluded with Vo Manh Cuong to import 838,000 boxes of four kinds of drugs labeled Health 2000 Canada with falsified origin, worth over VND54 billion, into Vietnam. The Vietnam Drug Administration approved the import.

Earlier, the HCMC People’s Court sentenced Vo Manh Cuong to 20 years in prison and Nguyen Minh Hung to 17 years in prison for trading in fake drugs.

Involved in the fake drug trading ring, Nguyen Viet Hung, former deputy head of the Vietnam Drug Administration; Pham Hong Chau, former head of the Drug Registration Division under the administration; and Le Dinh Thanh, former official at the HCMC Customs Department, were charged for dereliction of duty in VN Pharma’s fake drug import.

The investigators also filed criminal charges against Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, former deputy head of the Drug Registration Division, for graft while on duty.

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