Synthetic drugs from Asia are fuelling global public health and crime concerns

UNODC.org

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 29 August 2017 – East and Southeast Asia are at the heart of the global synthetic drug trade, with some drugs manufactured and trafficked in and from the region causing serious public health problems in the region and other parts of the world, said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at a high level in Hanoi, Viet Nam, with the ASEAN group of states, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United States, and the European Union.

The region has recently been acknowledged to be the largest methamphetamine market, with seizures surpassing the total for North America. Most countries in the region have reported record meth seizures in recent years, and the number of people admitted for methamphetamine treatment has also been on the rise for several years in a row.

“Methamphetamine use is on the increase across Viet Nam, not only among young drug users in major cities, but also industrialized areas, villages and communities,” said Hoang Anh Tuyen, Deputy Director of the Standing Office on Drugs and Crime (SODC) of the Ministry of Public Security of Viet Nam. “We will not be able to cope unless market demand is addressed and we make progress on trafficking into the country with our neighbours.”

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Vietnam and the Mekong’s Synthetic Drug Epidemic

thediplomat

Mainland Southeast Asia remains a hotspot for illegal drug manufacturing, and Vietnam is emerging as a transit hub.

Although Vietnam has some of the world’s most stringent drug laws — those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine face death – the country has also been facing the existence of a key smuggling and trafficking hub for illegal drugs around the Golden Triangle, at the intersection of China, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. The Golden Triangle is the world’s second-largest drug producing region, and the effects are being felt in Vietnam.
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PM seeks VN Pharma inspection

vietnamnews

Update: September, 07/2017 – 19:00

HCM City People’s Court opened a trial related to the smuggling of cancer medicines and falsification of documents at HCM City-based VN Pharma. — Photo zing.vn

HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has requested the Government take another look at VN Pharma’s licence to import seven drugs manufactured by Helix Pharmaceuticals Inc of Canada and the company’s registration papers for drug circulation.

The Government inspectorates will report on the inspection of the pharmaceutical company to the PM before December 31.

The Government Office has just sent the PM’s direction to relevant offices, also requesting inspection of the company’s winning bid to supply drugs for hospitals nation-wide.

The Ministry of Health denied granting any favour to VN Pharma, but doubts are swirling over the ministry’s involvement in the company’s scandalous drug smuggling racket.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyễn Viết Tiến issued a press release on August 29, clarifying the ministry’s responsibilities in connection with the licensing for VN Pharma to import 9,300 boxes of H-Capita 500mg in 2013.

H-Capita 500mg contained capecitabine, mainly used to treat breast, gastric and colorectal cancers.

VN Pharma had all the necessary papers. But an investigation later uncovered that the papers were expertly forged and the fraud could not be detected with the naked eye, according to the ministry’s press release.

Recently, however, several press agencies reported that the case resulted from the loosening of the Ministry of Health’s management in issuing licences to import drugs.

On August 30, at the regular Government meeting with the participation of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuracy, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam mentioned that VN Pharma imported fake cancer medicines.

According to the Deputy PM, the law enforcement agency handled the issue, but public opinion was of special concern, as the scandal affected people’s confidence in the entire health system.

Therefore, the case should be strictly punished in accordance with the provisions of the law.

“I have the idea to inspect the Ministry of Health’s licensing for importing drugs and issuing registration papers. On the other hand, I suggest the relevant offices to clarify issues of public concern,” the Deputy PM said.

The inspection was based on transparency and vigilance, he said.

According to sources from zing.vn online newspaper, the Government inspectorate will add the case of VN Pharma to the whole inspection plan at the Ministry of Health of 2017.

The HCM City People’s Court sentenced Nguyễn Minh Hùng, VN Pharma’s chairman of the Board of Directors cum general director, and Võ Mạnh Cường, director of H&C International Marine Trade company, to 12 years behind bars for smuggling. Cường bought the drugs from a source overseas and later sold them to VN Pharma. — VNS