The Ministry of Health and its medical partners met with international organisations to consult on current pharmaceutical best practices and recommendations on January 22, as the ministry prepares to revise the law on pharmacy.

Addressing the function, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, said the 1996 national pharmaceutical policy was a significant milestone for the sector, but progress in healthcare standards in the last two decades mandate improved policies to maximise access to reliable medication sources.

She continued, saying the ministry’s top priority is maintaining long-term and effective collaboration with medical partners both locally and internationally in order to realise targets set forth in the national strategy on pharmaceutical development by 2020.

According to Truong Quoc Cuong, Head of the Pharmacy Management Department under the Ministry of Health, the development strategy will focus on a number of key issues, such as ensuring sufficient pharmaceutical supply, expanding the distribution network, and developing comprehensive and effective management structures.

Cuong highlighted other components in the current draft of the amended pharmacy law, including increasing investments in pharmaceutical research, applying advanced technologies, improving clinical medicine quality, and enforcing regulations on the cost of medicines.

Arthur Erken, Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam, said the national plan is a strong demonstration of the Vietnamese Government’s intent to improve access to essential pharmaceutical products.

He also endorsed the revised law, saying it will provide an improved legal framework for the national strategy.

Since the 1990s, Vietnam has received support from international partners such as World Health Organization (WHO), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in developing and maintaining its pharmaceutical policies.-VNA