Health Minister denies involvement in cancer medicine scam

Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien has said her relatives and herself were not involved in the case of VN Pharma JSC Company’s smuggling of cancer medicines and falsification of documents.

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Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien and her house rumoured to be VN Pharma’s bribe 

It was rumoured on social networks that Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien received a house worth VND60 billion (USD2.72 million) from HCM City-based VN Pharma to help the firm’s cancer medicine imports. Meanwhile, her brother-in-law and her son are also said to be in the company’s management board.

However, in an interview with a local newspaper named HCM City Law, Minister Tien denied this, saying that the rumours are totally wrong and a fabrication, aiming to harm her prestige and the ministry.

“No one in my family works for the company at all. This is a small private company so I even did not know about this until the Drug Administration informed the ministry of its doubts about the company’s cancer medicine origins,” Tien said.

Regarding the house in Hanoi where her family is living in, Tien explained that her family bought the current land plot 20 years ago and the house was built 10 years ago. So, the information that Nguyen Minh Hung, the former director of VN Pharma JSC, used the house was a bribe was slander.

Despite being a small company, VN Pharma won contracts to provide cancer medicines at many hospitals worth up to VND476 billion (USD21.2 million), some Facebook pages implied that Minister Tien was offered commissions for the contracts.

Tien said that she was not centrally involved in tendering. The Ministry of Health had different agencies which are in charge of licensing this. Under the contracts, VN Pharma mostly provided the medicines for hospitals in HCM City, not national-level ones, so in this case, the HCM City Department of Health was responsible for appraising documents to license the company’s medicine bidding.

“Myself and my relatives are not related to VN Pharma as implied on social networks. Some Facebook pages have been set up to discredit me,” Tien noted.

She has also urged inspections over the information that doctors at some hospital were bribed to prescribe VN Pharma’s cancer medicines, emphasising that any violator should be strictly punished.

Tien said that the Ministry of Health has asked for an inspection over the suspicion that some officials had a role in licensing VN Pharma’s cancer medicines.

The minister also denied the rumour that she had tendered her resignation for the involvement in VN Pharma’s violations.

According to the conclusion of the HCM City People’s Court, VN Pharma falsified technical documents for the import of 9,300 boxes of H-Capita 500mg made by Helix Pharmaceuticals Canada.

Nguyen Minh Hung, the former director of the firm, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the violation; meanwhile, seven others in the ring were also sentenced for between two years’ probation and 12 years in prison.


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