Saving thousand billions of VND via concentrated medicine procurement

VCN - Concentrated bidding for medicine procurement is a policy that has been strengthened by the Government under the guidelines of the Party and National Assembly. Throughout implementation, this mechanism has achieved many positive results.
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Illustration image. Source: Internet

The proportion of domestic medicines increases

Reporting to the National Assembly on thematic supervision and questioning in the previous term, the Government said it had directed to synchronously implement solutions for concentrated bidding, price negotiation, and price listing, register and declare prices, comply with provisions of law, ensure publicity and transparency and facilitate people to access quality medicines at a reasonable price.

Medicines are one of the products subject to State price management. The Government always closely follows and promptly directs and manages appropriately to ensure prices of medicine. Currently, medicines prices in Vietnam are in the low group compared to other countries in the region and in the world. Among ASEAN countries, medicine prices of Vietnam are only higher than in Malaysia. However, the prices of some generic medicines (brand name drugs) are still high compared to people's ability to afford them.

The Government has directed to strengthen concentrated bidding activities in medicine procurement. The number of concentrated medicines procured has gradually increased throughout the years. Specifically: in 2017, there were 21 types of medicines; in 2018 it was 39 types of medicines and in 2019 there were 283 types of medicines.

Concentrated bidding has significantly saved costs for buying medicine and the savings also increased. In 2017, VND 477 billion was saved; in 2018 it was VND 745 billion and in 2019 the figure was VND 1,550 billion compared to the value of the winning medicine 12 months earlier.

Regarding medicine bidding, the Government has instructed to give priority to the use of medicines manufactured domestically. The proportion of domestic medicines used in health facilities has increased significantly, specifically, in 2013, the proportion of domestic medicines accounted for 15.61%, in 2017, this rate accounted for 28.81% and in 2018 increased to 35.95% (in value).

Sharing medical equipment price data

To promote these positive results, in the future, the Government will continue to promote the task of medicines bidding and medicine price management. In particular, completing the system of legal documents related to medicine prices and medicine bidding management; promote price negotiation with medicines that are still copyrighted and medicines out of copyright because these medicines have very high prices compared to generic medicines. Bidding for generic medicines with generic group 1 medicines which have many registration numbers to reduce the price of generic medicines.

Besides that, building a preferential mechanism for purchasing domestic medicines and continue to improve the concentrated bidding mechanism, in particular, the concentrated bidding medicines at national level for a number of medicines having great value of use, accounting for a high proportion of the total health insurance fund belonging to groups of medicines imported directly from abroad. medicines of low value, domestically produced medicines, are transferred to localities for bidding at the provincial level, or at each medical facility.

Regarding the difference in bid-winning medicine prices, the Government has instructed related units to add the form of price negotiation and concentrated bidding medicines at the national level for medicine products to the Law on Bidding 2013 and is implementing this rule. Accordingly, continuing to promote the effectiveness of medicine price reductions via concentrated bidding on medicines at national level and price negotiation, at the same time, enhancing the efficiency of strict management of the medicine market and implementing the target of price reduction in accordance with the Government’s directives.

The Ministry of Health is working with the General Department of Vietnam Customs to share information and data on prices of imported equipment and to develop equipment management software from the stage of production/import to the stage of circulation, distribution and use.

By Hồng Vân/Thanh Thuy

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