Medical transparency efforts appreciated

December 04, 2020 | 09:00
Medical device businesses now have to declare information on a new web portal, increasing transparency in the market. Torben Minko, chairman of the EuroCham Medical Device and Diagnostic Sector Committee, talked to VIR’s Bich Thuy about possible impacts on its members.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health (MoH) has launched a web portal to offer information on medical devices, among others. Will this move impact the operations of your members?

1520 p22 medical transparency efforts appreciated
Torben Minko, chairman of the EuroCham Medical Device and Diagnostic Sector Committee

From an industry perspective, we support the government’s policy of making prices of medical devices transparent. We believe that this will bring positive impacts to the market.

In addition, the step will stimulate fair competition among companies for the benefit of patients. We highly appreciate the great efforts of the MoH in developing such a large database in a short period of time.

Vietnam has discovered several wrongdoings in the trade of medical devices. Do multinational corporations (MNCs) have control mechanisms in place to limit violations?

Compliance with local laws and regulations are our cornerstones. Since the establishment of our organisation, MNCs in the Medical Device and Diagnostic Sector Committee (MDDSC) have been committed to follow mandatory policies during their operation in Vietnam.

Abiding by such local laws and regulations as well as adopting related international industry codes of ethical practice, we also aligned and agreed on our local MDDSC Code of Ethical Conduct. The purpose of the code is to promote ethical interactions between MDDSC’s corporate members that develop, manufacture, sell, and distribute medical devices and diagnostics technologies in Vietnam and those individuals and entities that use, recommend, purchase, and prescribe this equipment.

Based on this, the MNCs in the committee have developed their own internal policies to ensure that wrongdoings can be prevented.

How have MDDSC members performed in Vietnam over the past year?

Expectations for 2020 were high. However, in a world where normal business operations have been suspended for now, growth in the entire global economy is under threat. This also affects medical device companies in the same way – globally and in Vietnam. We highly evaluate all proactive, transparent, and effective efforts made by the government in the prevention and control of the pandemic, and its actions have been successful and recognised internationally. Since the first outbreak in Vietnam, MDDSC members have ensured a stable supply of sustainable, innovative, and high-quality healthcare products to meet the demands for prevention and treatment activities. At this critical moment, we made a practical contribution, donating test-kits to detect COVID-19 worth $25,000 to support the government.

We understand that the medical device and diagnostics sectors are considered systemically important for the country’s healthcare infrastructure, and those efforts will be continued and enhanced even further.

We appreciate the government’s continued facilitation for the healthcare industry in maintaining the supply chain staying in close contact with hospitals and healthcare professionals, and it is a great encouragement for the business community.

What are your member’s plans to tap into the growing demand for high-quality medical devices in Vietnam?

Vietnam’s healthcare infrastructure has developed rapidly over the past few years. This is thanks to the significant efforts of the Vietnamese authorities to improve public infrastructure across the country and to open the market to private healthcare providers.

The related double-digit growth of the medical device and diagnostics market has stimulated MNCs to better serve the market through investments in a solid local network of partners. This has involved the setup of representative offices and, very often, the creation of local Vietnamese branches employing and training highly-qualified local experts. It has also created opportunities for some of the MNCs to establish local production centres to serve the market with high-quality healthcare products.

We will continue to work together with regulators on the improvement of the regulatory and legal framework. Our four cornerstones for 2021 will be digital transformation; remote care access for patients, reimbursement, and capability building; the policy framework for value-based procurement to provide best access to highest-quality medical devices; and trainings for healthcare providers and professionals. All of these will stimulate more investment and ultimately a state-of-the-art healthcare system in Vietnam.

By Bich Thuy

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