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Vietnam Tightens Grip on Pharmacies to Curb Antibiotics Abuse

As the risk of antibiotics resistance increases, the Vietnamese government has started to respond.

Recently, the Ministry of Health has ordered that all drug stores be connected to the national medicine database via the internet by today, April 8, according to VnExpress. The measure aims to decrease the use of drugs without a prescription.

As reported by an earlier article, Vietnam’s antibiotics sales have doubled since 2009. According to statistics from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy, based in Washington, DC, Vietnam had 11,480 defined daily doses of antibiotics per 1,000 individuals in 2015.

According to the online newspaper, 90% of Hanoi’s 4,600 drug stores have followed the order. On the other hand, only 60% of over 6,000 drug stores in Ho Chi Minh City were connected to the database as of last week. Some pharmacy owners argued that they do not have computers or the internet available at their stores. In response, Tran Thi Nhi Ha, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Health, told the news source that the regulation requires pharmacies to invest in digital infrastructure, and this takes time.

Some Vietnamese patients tend to avoid medical institutions and prefer to self-medicate with over-the-counter drugs bought from local pharmacies. The problems is that in the country, most drugstores even sell prescription-only medicines over the counter, including antibiotics. In Vietnam, the rate of antibiotics being sold without prescription is 88% in urban areas, and 91% in the countryside, according to the health ministry.

Tang Thi Chuong, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Health, warned: “Licenses will be taken away from pharmacies that continue to disobey.”

[Photo/CC BY]

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