The Ministry of Health (MOH) is working on a draft circular guiding the implementation of drug assistance programs carried out by pharmaceutical companies to offer free-of-charge medicines to patients through medical examination and treatment establishments.
A free-of-charge health checkup for members of the Hai Phong Women’s Union__Photo: VNA
As per the draft, there would be two forms of assistance: full assistance, which would apply to drugs of all types; and partial assistance, which would apply to brand-name drugs or reference bio-products of which the exclusive protection period has not yet expired, or to pharmacochemical drugs of which generic drugs are not yet available or bio-products of which similar bio-products with the same pharmaceutical ingredients and formulation are not yet produced in Vietnam. Partial assistance programs must be approved by the MOH before implementation. Particularly, all drugs used in assistance programs must be licensed by the MOH for legal circulation in Vietnam, except those provided under foreign non-governmental aid packages.
Generally, drug assistance programs would be carried out on the basis of economic contracts signed between pharmaceutical businesses and healthcare facilities, which, however, must not impose any conditions that force healthcare facilities and patients to give up or refuse the currently used drugs or therapies or switch to others.
Healthcare facilities participating in drug assistance programs must meet conditions on personnel and equipment in conformity with the drugs to be used under the programs. Pharmaceutical companies must satisfy the legal conditions for pharmaceutical business activities, and ensure the quality and origin of drugs used in the programs.- (VLLF)