Health sector urged to address drug and medical supply shortages

Patients buy medicine at a pharmacy in Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi.

The Prime Minister also called on the health sector to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of relevant ministries, sectors and agencies to address the issue.

Prime Minister Chinh said regulations cannot cover all aspects of life as there are often rapid, unpredictable and unprecedented developments.

Therefore, he said ministries, sectors and localities should update the situation and provide timely policy responses so as not to affect people’s health and socio-economic activities.

He also asked the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance to propose amendments to the regulations on tenders and the purchase of medicines, equipment and medical supplies in order to create favorable conditions for localities actively purchase the most cost-effective medical equipment, not just the cheapest.

Currently, the shortcomings of legal mechanisms and the absence of legislative provisions on tenders are responsible for a prolonged shortage of medicines and medical equipment in the country’s medical institutions.

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Bao, deputy director of the National Centralized Drug Supply Center, spoke with the online newspaper Kinh te & Do thi (Economic and Urban Affairs) about the organization of tenders and the supply of medicines and medical equipment in establishments which are still encountering problems .

About 90% of legal documents do not correspond to the real situation. Bao added that bureaucracy is one of the reasons for the current shortage of drugs and medical supplies.

Nguyen Huy Quang, former director of the legal department of the Ministry of Health, said that many companies are not interested in bidding to supply drugs and medical equipment to institutions because the price of drugs is now very high and they cannot make a profit.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thi Lien Huong said the global supply chain was broken and input prices were rising. They are believed to be the cause of the shortage of medicines and medical equipment.

In addition, some countries have implemented anti-inflationary measures, which have also affected the supply and prices of medicines, equipment and medical supplies, she said.

She said the Ministry of Health has come up with short-term and long-term solutions to solve the shortage of medicines and medical equipment.

The short-term solution is for the ministry to speed up the licensing process for the purchase of drugs and medical equipment; speed up the progress of drug tender documents; modify relevant documents under the authority of the ministry, she said.

In the long run, the ministry is proposing amendments and additions to the Medical Examination and Treatment Law, the Health Insurance Law, the Medical Equipment Law and the Pharmacy Law, he said. she adds.

Prolonged shortages

Data from the Ministry of Health showed that 28 of the country’s 34 health departments and 12 of the 21 central hospitals are facing drug shortages; 26 out of 34 health departments and 15 out of 21 central-level hospitals reported a shortage of medical consumables and chemicals.

Head of Vietnam Social Security Health Insurance Implementation Department Le Van Phuc said the lack of medicine and medical supplies in hospitals directly affects patients.

He said there would be many issues, such as whether the quality of drugs and medical supplies outside the hospital is guaranteed or not when patients have to buy drugs and medical supplies themselves. .

In addition, the price of drugs is also different in other pharmacies.

These things affect the interests of patients, he said.

Nguyen Cong Huu, director of Hanoi-based E Hospital, said the current shortage of medicines and medical supplies had caused public concern. The lack of medicines and medical supplies not only affects patients, but also affects hospital revenues.

Bach Mai Hospital has a great demand for medicines, medical equipment and supplies as the hospital receives many patients every day.

However, hospital statistics show that 18 companies that won tenders to provide drugs and medical supplies to the hospital did not provide enough drugs and medical supplies to meet demand.

In Ho Chi Minh City, representatives of 25 drug suppliers and 33 public health units recently reported difficulties in bidding for drug supplies.

For example, many regulations need to be clearer and more consistent. In the meantime, adequate regulation of drug price management is needed to prevent prices from being distorted./. VNS

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