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Part 2: Online Business - The 'fertile' land for counterfeit drugs and supplementary foods

10:18 | 13/07/2018

VCN- Only with the tools of social networking accounts or any website, the sale of drugs and supplementary foods has taken place widely. and the regulators area lmost unable to control the quality of these products, which creates a messy business environment.

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Due to the ease in the business of supplementary foods, many low quality products have reached the consumers.

Many tips for attracting consumers

The common tip concerning the supplementary foods that counterfeiters are doing is that patients share the "miracle effect" of supplementary foods and advise consumers to try it. To persuade consumers, counterfeiters share the name, age, address, and specific images of a character experience. For example, an experience of a character named Nguyen Van Thanh in Hue City, mentioned the use of supplementary foods named Kukumin for stomach pain,anddespite having had stomach pain for nearly 20 years, after 8 chemical treatments suffered no more pain.

Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, the Director of Food Safety Department, under the Ministry of Health said that the current popular tricks of some business owners of drugs and supplementary foods on the network was to use a list of reliable medical facilities to set up sales website, to increase credibility for customers. Recently, the Department of Food Safety discovered some websites promoting Nanocurcumin - Black truffles - Black Radiance, which was titled "Pharmaceutical products of Military Academy". Accordingly, this content violates the provisions of the Law on food advertising.

The above products are distributed by P.L Co., Ltd., in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi. However, when the Department of Food Safety worked with representatives of P.L Co., Ltd., the company confirmed that the website advertising food products on the network was not their company. Accordingly, P.L Co., Ltd., also said that they did not advertise Nanocurcumin products on the website, and they were not responsible for advertising those contents.

In this context, the Food Safety Department under the Ministry of Health has carried out inspections and found many false advertising problems. The Food Safety Department has issued a decision to recall 13 certificates of products of Dong Nam Pharmaceutical Technology Development Joint Stock Company. At the same time, it issued a decision to recall 4 conformity publicationsrelated to food safety regulations.

The consequence from counterfeit goods is the fact that patients are suffering negative symptoms day by day. Ms. Tran Thi Quynh Trang, Thanh Xuan Bac, Thanh Xuan district, Hanoi said: I had acute bronchitis, after visiting the doctor, I was prescribed for drug resistance, Amoxilin. Due to lack of time, I ordered medicine on the Internet. However, after more than one day of taking the medicineit did not help me, but caused allergies, urticaria and dyspnea, and I had to take emergency care at the Center, Bach Mai Hospital. As a result, the doctor said, the reason was that I took drugs that were not qualified.

Currently, standards on circulation of medicines are strictly regulated. Medicines that are imported or domestically produced must be closely accredited by the Drug Administration of Vietnam with various standards and new registration numbers that are allowed to be circulated in pharmacies or hospitals. Drug advertising content and images must also be approved by the Drug Administration of Vietnam under the the Ministry of Health. But in the social networking environment, users are blatantly selling and promoting counterfeit products without censorship of product quality.

Hard to handle?

Regarding the handling of violations related to the sale of counterfeit and supplementary foods on the Internet, representatives of the National Steering Committee 389 said that there were no specific regulations on management, business and advertising on the social networks that makes the handling of violations become very difficult.

According to Mr. Hoang Dai Nghia, Head of Team 6, Hanoi Market Management, the most difficult point of anti-counterfeiting on the Internet is business on the network without administrative boundaries, so people can sell goods anywhere. "The fact that there is a need to have a specialized agency against counterfeit goods online may be under the Department of Market Management," Mr. Nghia proposed.

Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong also acknowledged that the management of advertising on social networks (Facebook, Youtube) with domain names from foreign countries encountered many difficulties in identifying the infringing advertisers and there is no basis to handle the violations. "Especially, some websites had host servers abroad, so the State management agencies have difficulties to control. Accordingly, the competence to deal with advertising agencies such as newspapers, radio, main websites, is with the Ministry of Information and Communications and the Ministry of Public Security," said the Head of the Food Safety Department.

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Nguyen Viet Cuong, Chief Inspector of the Hanoi Department of Health, said that the promotion and sale of supplementary foods on personal Facebook pages made management difficult. If the manufacturing companies and pharmacies have specific addresses for selling functional foods it is easy to check. However, finding enough evidence to prove that Facebook account holders are trading fake supplementary food is not simple. Many people who were found excused with the denial of responsibility, such as posting mere information, creating false personal pages.

By D. Ngan/ Hoang Anh