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May 29, 2023 / 18:07

Vietnam to establish warehouses for orphan drugs

Vietnam's legal framework for orphan drugs is in place to enable hospitals to have storage plans.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has been working on a plan to set up centers to store orphan drugs in line with the Vietnamese Government's directive, according to Le Viet Dung, Deputy Director of the Drug Administration of Vietnam (DAV).

Dung said when sharing measures to overcome the shortage of orphan drugs and the lack of botulinum antidote that some warehouses for these drugs will be set up across the country.

Drug Administration of Vietnam Deputy Director Le Viet Dung. Photo: VNA

"There will be 15-20 medicines to be stockpiled, including botulinum antitoxins. The DAV has been working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to study its storage mechanism, liaise with regional countries on storing limited supply drugs, and with WHO storage facilities," Dung said.

He stressed that the legal framework for rare drugs is in place, and the DAV is asking hospitals nationwide to make plans for such drugs, especially orphan drugs.

Referring to cases of botulism poisoning recorded in Ho Chi Minh City last week, Dung said the Ministry of Health had helped hospitals treating botulism patients to contact foreign suppliers and the WHO for the antidotes after being informed that botulism antitoxins were out of stock nationwide.

The WHO then announced that only six vials remained in its warehouse in Switzerland, which had been shipped to Vietnam on May 2.

Then, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health proposed setting up storage centers for rare drugs and establishing a mechanism for expired rare drugs.

Regarding recommendations to prevent botulinum poisoning cases, the MoH has advised people to avoid consuming expired food.

In addition, the Ministry of Health pointed out that manufacturers must use safe ingredients in production and processing and strictly follow hygiene rules in the production process. In particular, canned food manufacturers must strictly adhere to the sterilization regime.

Consumers should refrain from consuming canned foods that are expired, improperly canned, preserved, or have strange flavors or colors, and should use foods and ingredients of clear origin and freshly cooked foods.