Deputy Health Minister Truong Quoc Cuong. (Photo: VNA)
Cuong and two other officials – Nguyen Viet Hung, 66, former deputy head of the Drug Administration of Vietnam, and Le Dinh Thanh, former Ho Chi Minh City Customs official – are being prosecuted for “negligence causing serious consequences” under Article 285, Clause 2 of the 1999 Penal Code.
According to the indictment, from 2008 – 2010, two of the accused prepared applications for seven drugs branded Health 2000 Canada so they could be authorised to be circulated in Vietnam. Although the documents were all fabricated, the drugs were later approved by a number of officials.
Between November 2012 and June 2014, Cuong and his accomplices faked a range of documents to change the origins of the medicines to import some 838,100 boxes of the medicines into Vietnam. They were then resold to drug stores, hospitals and pharmaceutical businesses.
Cuong worked as head of the Drug Administration of Vietnam from 2007 to 2016 and took legal responsibilities for all activities of the office. He was said to lack responsibility in assessing and granting licences for the drugs; and lacked supervision and examination over those assessing and registering the drugs, leading to the approval of the applications for the import and consumption of the counterfeit drugs in Vietnam.
After the drugs were imported and consumed in Vietnam, although he received information about their suspected origins, Cuong did not ask authorities to stop their circulation, or recall and destroy the drugs. As a result, many health establishments still traded and supplied the counterfeit drugs without clear origins to treat patients./.