Cuong was sentenced by the Hanoi's People Court after being charged with “negligence that results in serious consequences”. He is also forbidden from holding positions in the field of medicine for three years after finishing his sentence.
Nguyen Minh Hung, former chairman of the management board of pharmaceutical firm Vietnam Pharma JSC, received 18 years in jail for “manufacturing and trading of counterfeit medicines for treatment or prevention of diseases”. Hung had been sentenced to 17 years under the same charge at another trial over the case in 2019. His cumulative years to spend in prison will be 30 years, the maximum number of jail time for combined timed sentences in accordance with Vietnamese law.
12 others convicts related to the cases were also sentenced to between 2-20 years in jail.
The sentences were the latest development in a counterfeit drug case involving Vietnam Pharma and the fake drug branded Health 2000 Canada. Cuong stands accused of violations that allowed the company to import the fake drug to Vietnam.
According to case files, Hung and Vo Manh Cuong had made a deal to purchase 838,000 packets of the drug, worth over VND54 billion ($2.3 million), for import to Vietnam. Both Hung and Cuong adapted the drug's info, price and logo to fool authorities.
Prosecutors said the case is “especially severe” as it concerns drugs being counterfeited that were supposed to cure people, many of them being antibiotics for severe infections. The convicts' actions have “adversely affected the State's healthcare policies and the reputation of the field of medicine.”
They also suggested the Ministry of Health to recheck its drug approval procedures, especially for foreign drugs. Further investigations must be made on customs authorities to see if there are any violations, they added.
At the court, Cuong blamed his actions on being “overworked” and due to “a lack of infrastructure.”
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