The Central government has to come out with appropriate strategy to overcome the trade barriers put up by the Vietnam government against Indian pharmaceutical exports in recent months. The regulatory authorities in Vietnam have been frequently finding fault with the quality of Indian pharmaceutical exports without much justification, according to some leading exporters.
This hostile attitude of the Vietnamese drug regulatory authority is resulting in issuing letters and blacklisting some Indian exporters citing compliance and quality issues. While the industry appreciated the pro activeness of the Indian government in reaching out to Vietnamese counterparts, the industry insisted that the government should take measures in interacting with the stakeholders as well to understand the ground realities.
Nipun Jain, chief executive officer, of Pharmachem stressed that Vietnam being a major export destination is an important market for the industry and thus pre-emptive measures should be taken to address the issue. To safeguard the interest of the Indian exporters, while maintaining a strong relation with the Vietnamese government, Jain who is also in the SME panel of Pharmexcil suggested that India and Vietnam should work together to collaborate on setting up a joint drug testing lab in Vietnam, which would ease up the tension and build the confidence among both the parties.
He also suggested that if not that the Vietnamese government can try to outsource the drug testing to a third party like SGS. If not that they can try adopting pre-shipment testing through a third party as being done for exports to Nigeria, where samples of drugs to be exported to the Nigerian market is tested through a third party testing laboratory in India itself before being exported.
“These are some of the practical solutions that can be adopted to address the issue. These steps will ease the exporters tension and uncertainity while exporting to Vietnam and will also help the Vietnamese authority in addressing their fears on quality issues, without affecting the exports,” Jain pointed out.
A highly placed source from the industry claimed that contrary to the claims made by the Vietnamese government, the fault does not lie with exporters alone, as the regulatory system in the country is equally to be blamed. On condition of anonymity a source revealed that there is a huge lacunae in the drug testing and regulatory system in Vietnam which is the main cause of concern for many. In fact, the source pointed that the testing labs and other facilities are not even updated and latest as per the internationally accepted guidelines.
“The ongoing situation cannot be sorted out without taking into cognizance of the deplorable state of the drug regulatory system in Vietnam, as well rather than playing the blame game they should take some constructive steps towards modernising their drug testing labs. May be then they will find out that the problem is not with the Indian drugs but is with their incapability in properly testing the products,” a source stressed.