Medical products are widely counterfeited and smuggled in HCM city

VCN – Violations discovered in HCM City show that medical product such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and supplemental foods have been counterfeited and smuggled by smugglers.
Prosecute a case of smuggling relating to importing medicines for Covid-19 treatment Prosecute a case of smuggling relating to importing medicines for Covid-19 treatment
Closely control fraud in declaring chemicals Closely control fraud in declaring chemicals
Strengthen anti-smuggling of fake medicine and cosmetics Strengthen anti-smuggling of fake medicine and cosmetics
Medical products are widely counterfeited and smuggled in HCM city
Fake medicines are seized by HCM City Police.

Domestic goods are swapped for foreign goods

According to Steering Committee 389 of HCM City, in 2022 and eight months of 2023, the smuggling, transportation, and trafficking of banned goods, production and trading of fake goods, violation of intellectual property rights, food hygiene and safety, legal offenses in HCM city has been complicated with the sophisticated and unpredictable methods and tricks.

Earlier, the smuggling, trade fraud, production, and trading of counterfeit and low-quality goods for pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, and supplemental foods in HCM City in sophisticated methods.

Suspects who produce fake medicines have swapped domestic goods for foreign goods or abused companies that produce medicines and supplemental foods to make fake products; make counterfeit products of products that have been registered trademarks of domestic and foreign companies on a large scale; take advantage of preferential investment policies to collude with foreign suspects, and use high-tech means to smuggle. Some foreign-invested companies do not produce products in Vietnam but only import them from China, then change the labels as Vietnamese origin and export them to other countries.

Violations mainly are failure to declare or declare inconsistent with the actual goods and route of shipments; the import of goods that do not meet standards and regulations.

In addition, suspects have abused incentive policies on transit goods to declare the names of goods under commodity groups when carrying out customs procedures and fail to declare in detail the names of goods in the shipment.

However, when law enforcement authorities have detected suspected signs or inspected shipments, the suspects have revised the final destination on the manifest as Cambodia and carried out customs procedures under the transit regime. During the transit shipments, the suspects have remodeled the compartments to mix smuggled goods to outsmart the detection by law enforcement authorities.

Through inspection, the anti-smuggling and investigation forces under HCM City Customs Department handle hundreds of violations. In 2022, the forces handled 658 violations with goods worth about VND78 billion. Police prosecuted two cases and six defendants.

In the first eight months of the year, the forces detected over 600 cases with goods worth over VND10.5 billion, including one criminally prosecuted case with 8 defendants.

Proposing to use e-stamps on imported goods

To effectively prevent smuggling and trade fraud, HCM City Steering Committee 389 recommends that departments and local government agencies strengthen coordination and information exchange, grasp situations and identify complex problems, develop and implement plans for inspection and examination to handle violations of smuggling, trade fraud, and production and sales of counterfeit products, and drastically tackle heads of smuggling rings and gang.

Actively review subjects with signs of suspected smuggling activities and legal entities that export and import goods for business purposes but their headquarters addresses are not clear and they do not operate at the registered addresses to strictly monitor.

Promote the application of science and technology in the fight against smuggling and trade fraud; use electronic stamps affixed to imported and exported goods to show the origin of goods and help detect smuggled goods, identify real goods, counterfeit goods, and goods violating intellectual property. The application of electronic stamp technology will be a breakthrough in combating smuggling, and trade fraud, protecting consumer rights, preventing revenue loss, and improving the quality of state management.

Regularly exchange information to warn about smuggling methods and tricks and newly arising violations; exchange information between domestic international airports to strengthen inspection and control to promptly detect smugglers and trade frauds, especially banned goods, and counterfeit goods, low-quality products under the group of pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, supplemental foods, and medicine.

According to Steering Committee 389 of HCM City, unknown origin goods have been traded in the market, including goods that are raw materials for the production of food and cosmetics, etc.

Compare the regulations on sanctions in Decree No. 117/2020/ND-CP dated September 28, 2020, of the Government stipulating sanctions for administrative violations in the health sector, specifically, Point c, Clause 1, Article 70 of this Decree only stipulates penalties for using expired materials that do not meet quality standards in cosmetic production. This regulation does not regulate the use of raw materials of unknown origin to produce cosmetics. Therefore, the city’s Steering Committee 389 recommends supplementing regulations on penalties for using unknown origin raw materials to produce cosmetics in line the reality.

By Le Thu/Hoang Loan

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