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Posts Tagged ‘pharmaceutical’

Vietnamese pharmaceutical firm faces patent lawsuit

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:37 am

A Vietnamese company based in Ho Chi Minh City which makes drugs for the cure of Hepatitis B, has for the first time in Vietnam produced a drug for Hepatitis C in an injection form.

Hepatitis drug made by Nanogen Company, whose amount is the same with foreign’s but much cheaper (Photo: Tuoi tre)

However, the Vietnamese company Nanogen Biopharmaceutical Ltd faces a lawsuit after the new medication was recently registered by authorities.

Freshview Intellectual Property Law Company in Hanoi, a representative of F.Hoffmann-La Roche AG in Vietnam has filed a complaint in a letter to the Nanogen Biopharmaceutical Ltd Company accusing the company of violating the patent protection law under which Roche is sole owner of Peginterferon alfa 2a the drug they have patented in Vietnam.

Roche claims the patent No. 2611 for the mentioned drug was granted by the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam in 2002 and is valid until May 2017. Therefore no company in Vietnam can manufacture the interferon compound without permission from Roche.

Roche affirmed that the Nanogen Company was violating their  patent rights and requested the company to immediately stop producing, marketing and advertising its Pegnano drug from December 30.

Roche also demanded the registration of Pegnano drugs be revoked by the relevant authorities.

On September 30, Truong Quoc Cuong, head of the Drug Administration of Vietnam, a division of the Ministry of Health turned down Nanogen’s request to register and sell its Pegnano drug after Roche protested.

However, Cao Minh Quang, deputy health minister, authorized the registration of three products on December 8 as Nanogen Company assured him that it had not violated the patent law.
In a talk with Tuoi Tre newspaper, Ho Nhan the Nanogen Company director denied that the company had violated the patent law stating that he had respected all intellectual property rights.

According to Mr. Nhan, Pegnano is a hi tech product which the Vietnamese government had encouraged and supported.

Workers are making hepatitis B at Nanogen Company’s factory (Photo: Tuoi tre)

Moreover, the company had dedicated 9 years to making the drug accessible and within reach for poor Vietnamese hepatitis patients. Pegnano is sold for VND1.5 million-1.9 million per 180mcg (USD77) compared to Roche’s selling price of VND4.3 million for the same amount.

Mr. Nhan cited article 7 of the Vietnamese Intellectual Property Law which was revised in 2009 where it is clearly stated that the government can ban or limit the exercise of intellectual rights in cases where such rights harm national defense, welfare of the people or affects other crucial national interests.

Dr. Tran Tinh Hien, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City based Tropical Disease Hospital supported Pegnano manufacture in Vietnam as he believed that many countries would be willing to revoke intellectual patent rights in order to have cheap HIV medicine.
Hoang Huu Doan, former director of the state-run Central Pharmaceutical Factory No. 1 has also backed Pegnano as he believed that drug manufacturing monopoly must end.

Source: SGGP

Exchange rate fluctuation influences pharmaceutical companies

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:59 am

Due to the big fluctuations in exchange rates, many domestic pharmaceutical enterprises are in despairs because they cannot import materials and an adjuvant, a pharmacological or immunological agent that modifies the effect of other agents.

Employees are packaging drugs at the Pharmaceuticals and Medicinal Laboratories (Photo: SGGP)

Some production contracts might be cancelled or some pharmaceutical companies have to pay fines for the delays in production. Furthermore, Vietnam would face the risk of a shortage of medications.

Being one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the country, Vietnam Medical Products Import-Export Joint Stock Company (VIMEDIMEX) in Ho Chi Minh City, were extremely concerned about the high exchange rates and the soaring prices of imported materials.

The company’s general manager, Nguyen Tien Hung, said the company has stopped production of rutin-extraction, from Vietnamese flower bud of Sophora Japomica L (Hoe buds). This is because it takes US$50 to make one kilogram of the rutin ingredient, but sells at only US$12 in the marketplace.

Mr. Hung said one kilogram of the flower sold at VND25, 000 last year, but now it has soared by over VND200, 000 per kilogram and crocus has increased from VND9, 000 to VND100, 000 a kilogram this year. For years, VIMEDIMEX has focused on growing herbs, but has failed to satisfy home demand.

Due to high prices of saffron, these companies use the curcumin extract from the herb. This is causing distress to the medical companies, as they may force to pay a compensation fee, if they did not complete the contract on time.

According to the Ministry of Health, Vietnam has three factories to make antibiotic materials, but only Mekophar Chemical Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company is still in production. Furthermore, the company directors are considering fewer contracts and are negotiating with its partners about the prices.

Moreover, imported materials from China, India and some countries in Europe, have quadrupled during the year.

Truong Duc Vong, director of the OPC Pharmaceutical JSC has, said he has just sent a petition to the city’s Department of Health (DOH) to raise some prices of the medications. While other pharmaceutical companies have now followed suit.

In addition, certain medical enterprises now face difficulties buying foreign currencies. They purchase at even higher prices or sometimes purchase imported materials from the ‘black market’.

The Boston Pharma JSC’s general manager said it needs to encourage consumption of local-made medications in the aid to reduce pressures for local enterprises.

Boston Pharma management said at a meeting, DOH should resolve registration formalities and other bureaucratic red tape as well as lead medical staffs to pharmaceutical factories to see technologies to make drugs in order to make them believe in home methodologies.

Many companies have filed a petition for preferential policies to special goods, to cease the drugs protective policies and to enforce strictly the anti-dumping law.

Source: SGGP

International Pharmaceutical Exhibition opens

In Uncategorized on August 19, 2010 at 11:23 am

The 10th International Medicine and Pharmaceutical Exhibition opened in Ho Chi Minh City on August 18 with 220 companies from 20 countries and territories taking part.

Co-organized by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the event will introduce healthcare and laboratory equipment, medicines, production equipment and hospital medical equipment.

Seminars on the Vietnamese pharmacy sector, regulations on production and trade and fact-finding trips to medical manufacturers and hospitals will also be held.

Nguyen Van Thanh, Deputy Head of the Drug Administration Department under the MOH, said that the exhibition will spotlight the latest achievements in Vietnam’s medical sector and across the world.

It is also an excellent opportunity for experts and healthcare businesses to expand international cooperation and increase access to high technologies as well as public health services.

The event will last until August 21.

Source: SGGP

Pharmaceutical price hikes rear their ugly head

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2010 at 11:17 am

Domestic and foreign drug manufacturers began to increase prices after a several month hiatus as responsible agencies mulled ways to control the market.

Drugstore assistants on Hai Ba Trung Street in district 1 said that domestic and foreign pharmaceutical companies raised the price of some medications, including antibiotics, antipyretic and varieties of vitamins in the beginning of July. For instance, vitamin B1 injections have increased 10 percent (from VND44, 000 to VND47, 000).

Vitamin B1 injections  is one of drugs  that have hiked recently.  It has  increased 10 percent (from VND44, 000 to VND47, 000)

Shop owners of wholesale markets on To Hien Thanh Street in district 10 complained their retailers did not agree to pay more because they have pledged not to increase prices for special items.  They said their proposal of delaying price hikes or implementing attractive promotions to calm retailers has not provoked a response from pharmaceutical firms.

Meanwhile, drug distributors blamed fluctuating prices of materials, recent changes in exchange rates and increased transport expenditures.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Vietnam Pharmaceutical Companies Association (VNPCA), of 70 domestic pharmaceutical enterprises, 17 have announced price adjustments of several drugs.

In Hanoi, the average rate of increase is 4.8 percent, while it is 5 percent in Ho Chi Minh City. The price of seven foreign-made medicines has gone up at a rate of 4.9 percent.

Although the price for various medications has soared, pharmaceutical items are listed as essential commodities and the Drug Administration of Vietnam has insisted on stable prices for medication.

The drug administration said it is implementing measures to fight price increases, including a pilot project to control retail profit surpluses of drugs used in hospitals, which are fully financed by the public budget.

Source: SGGP

City pharmaceutical companies receive fines for violations

In Uncategorized on April 12, 2010 at 9:00 am

Several pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies have recently been fined for violating laws, Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Market Management has said.

An inspector is checking drugs at Minh Phuc Pharmaceutical Company’s warehouse

The department has been investigating pharmaceutical enterprises in the city for the past three months and says it found some drugstores of the My Chau pharmaceutical chain and Minh Phuc Pharmaceutical Joint-Stock Company selling expired medicines and drugs without Vietnamese labels.

The department has fined Minh Phuc VND17.5 million and revoked the business registration certificate of one of My Chau’s drugstores at 73 Thuan Kieu Street in District 5.

The city market management department also penalized the Dong Phuong Pharmaceutical Company VND20 million for similar offenses and withdrew its business registration papers.

The Saigon Pharmaceutical Company, meanwhile, was fined VND12.5 million when market management officials discovered the enterprise didn’t keep written records after inspecting the company’s warehouse in an industrial area of HCMC’s Hoc Mon District.

Source: SGGP

Illegal pharmaceutical trade continues to run rampant in HCMC

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 6:13 am

Following the discovery last month of fake drugs in 10 Viet-France Pharmaceuticals Company warehouses, SGGP reporters have unearthed more information on illegal drug-selling practices in Ho Chi Minh City.

A cache of fake drugs found in a small workshop in HCMC (Photo: SGGP)

To Hien Thanh Street in the city’s District 10 is well known for its wholesale pharmaceutical markets. Some enterprises on the street refused to purchase medicines with unclear origins, but other dubious traders are known to sell nearly expired drugs at half the original price.

Demand for the drug Viagra, used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, has recently skyrocketed, as have prices for the medicine.

Four blister packs of the drug cost VND700,000 in the mainstream market, but fake varieties are sold rampantly to pharmacies by illegal drug traders for only around VND200,000. The phony drugs are then resold to unknowing customers.

In addition, unscrupulous pharmaceutical company representatives can earn profits from selling their company’s drug samples, which are normally offered to doctors for free.

Such companies are not permitted to sell their medicine samples, but some employees with access to the drugs have been found reselling them cheaply, without receipts or proof of origin, to local pharmacies.

Independent, illegal drug traders also work throughout the city. One trader named Tuan was found to have purchased a large quantity of the drug Sagacef 200, manufactured by Saga Laboratories of India and imported by Pharbaco Central Pharmaceutical JSC No.1.

The medicine has been banned in Vietnam, however, for failing to meet Vietnamese safety and quality standards, and the Ministry of Health ordered the importer to withdraw the medicine from the local market.

Some fake-drug traders also find ways to remake and sell expired and prohibited medicines to pharmacies and private clinics at high prices.

Local police last month discovered a large quantity of fake medicines and production equipment including stamping machines and a device to make drug capsules. The paraphernalia, stored in 10 warehouses on Ly Thuong Kiet Street in District 10, allegedly belonged to Huynh Van Quang, director of the Viet-France Pharmaceuticals Company JCC.

Quang reportedly purchased cheap, domestically made medicines and then placed the drugs in brand-name containers including Novartis, Roche, Gedeon Richter, Janssen Cilag and Solvay to resell at higher prices.

Last month, HCMC Market Managers also discovered 2,000 containers of expired drugs in a warehouse belonging to Dong Phuong (Oriental) Pharmaceutical Ltd. Company in District 1. The company was found illegally applying new expiry dates to the drugs.

According to the HCMC Market Management Board, over 10 major cases were unearthed in 2009 involving local pharmacies selling fake or expired drugs. In addition, many more were found selling drugs without clear origins or receipts.

Each Vietnamese citizen spends around US$16.40 on drugs annually, and could be putting their health at great risk when purchasing medicines of unknown origin and safety.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

VN’s pharmaceutical industry needs hi-tech investment

In Vietnam Science on September 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Although Vietnam has a treasure of abundant and diverse sources of pharmaceutical materials, including nearly 4,000 herbal plants, the country’s pharmaceutical industry currently depends on material imported from China to make up medicines. To exploit its own resources, it is necessary for Vietnam to boost investments in hi-tech extraction technologies.

A technician determines the quality of active element 10 DAB III and Taxol from Taxaceae via chromatography analysis (Photo: SGGP)

Latest statistical reports from the Drug Administration of Vietnam indicated that in 2008, locally-produced medicines meet just 50.18 percent of demand, with eighty percent of materials for the production of medicine imported from foreign countries, mainly from China.

Pharmacist Nguyen Tien Hung, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Vietnam Medical Products Import – Export Company (Vimedimex) blamed the situation for the fact that Vietnam has not yet made adequate investment in modern separation and extraction technologies to exploit medicinal plants.

Reality shows that extraction technology of medicinal plants in the country is still underdeveloped. At present, Vietnam does not have any large hi-tech extraction plants. Most oriental medicine businesses build small scale plants, which are suitable for their own production demand.

The main extraction method employed in such plants is just intended for concentrating glues at normal pressure. Extraction plants built in areas where herbal plants are grown as materials, if any, are also small, equipped with rudimentary machines and equipment. Such plants are only used for producing one or two kinds of glues.

Thanks to the growing tendency among consumers to use herbal remedies, a number of oriental medicine businesses have begun to invest in modern plants equipped with controllable heat extraction technology.

No matter how modern they are, such plants cannot produce high-quality medicinal medicines that can compete with imported products because they are still falling short in extraction processes.

Mr Hung pointed out that last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved a project to boost the development of the pharmaceutical industry and build a drug distribution system for the stages 2007 – 2015 and 2016-2020.

The PM also issued two decisions to stimulate the investment in plants to extract active elements from pharmaceutical materials, but no company has gained benefits from these policies.

It is really a loss for the country because if Vietnam can exploit the resources of medicinal plants appropriately, it can earn millions of US dollars each year.

Cited as an example, Mr Hung said that in 1980s Dr. B. Gluzin, deputy director of Medicinal Plant Research Institute of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, and his fellow-workers came to work in Vietnam and found a large volume of mangiferin (an anti-oxidant agent) contained in mango leaves. This kind of mango leaf extract is used for making medicines that cures shingles.

Based on the discovery, Russia decided to partially transfer the extraction technology to Vimedimex and placed an order, under which Vimedimex would supply mangiferin in the form of crude material to Russia.

In 1998, Vietnam exported mangiferin with a purity of between 75 and 78 percent for the first time. In 2002, Sovipharm Joint -Venture (now BV Pharma) was established and Russia decided to transfer the entire extraction technology to Vietnam.

Hi-tech extraction technologies will help Vietnam produce hi-quality medicines that can compete with imported products (Photo: SGGP)

At present, BV Pharma can produce mangiferin with a purity of 98 and 100 percent. The volume of material and medicines in the form of finished products exported to Russia is worth $1 million a year.

But it is not merely mango leaves, Vietnam has hundreds of kinds of medicinal plants with high contents of precious active elements. For example, Taxol is found in Taxaceae; Rurin and Troxerutin in Sophora japonica L. and Curcumin and Quercetin in Curcuma.

Pharmacist Tran Hung, head of Department of Pharmaceutical Materials of the HCMC University of Medical and Pharmacy, said that to boost the development of the pharmaceutical industry and improve the production capacity of specific medicines, Vietnam has no choice but to stimulate investment in high-tech extraction technologies.

To do so, it is necessary for the Government to have policies to encourage simultaneous investment in material growing areas, high technology and training.

Since businesses feel hesitant to invest in hi-tech extraction technologies, as they require large investment capital, Mr Hung said that the Government should also issue macro policies related to financial funding and tax incentives to encourage investors.  

Source: SGGP