According to the Ministry of Health of Vietnam, many healthcare facilities in the country are facing a shortage of drugs, medical devices, and materials/chemicals. To address the urgent needs of medical examination and treatment in public healthcare facilities, on March 4, 2023, the government of Vietnam promulgated Resolution No. 30/NQ-CP on continuing to implement solutions to ensure the availability of drugs, medical equipment, and healthcare supplies (“Resolution 30”).
Resolution 30 amends item 4 of Resolution No. 144/NQ-CP dated November 5, 2022, allowing medical examination and treatment expenses to continue to be covered by health insurance for technical services carried out with medical devices supplied by contractors after winning tenders to supply materials and chemicals. The new mechanism brings more benefit to patients by removing the previous ending date of November 5, 2023, and will be applicable until there is further guidance from the government.
Resolution 30 also allows the use of medical devices that were donated or gifted by domestic and foreign entities (including those that were provided under now-expired joint ventures or cooperation contracts) regardless of whether those entities have fulfilled the procedures for ownership establishment. Technical services that are performed by such devices will be covered by health insurance. This provision will help address the shortage of medical devices used in public hospitals.
The determination of bid price is also a highlight of Resolution 30, which pilots a simpler price determination procedure for the purchase of drugs and medical devices. Instead of requiring purchasers to obtain quotations from three suppliers, Resolution 30 allows them to compare prices based on the quotations actually received, even from only one or two suppliers. Alternatively, price determination can be based on the winning bid price for a similar medical device procurement package that was awarded within the last 120 days. This pilot procedure for price determination will help shorten the bidding time and facilitate the purchasing process.
Further, for medical equipment that has many different types or models, the Scientific Council of healthcare facilities will be assigned to determine the appropriate quality, rather than simply choosing the lowest price, as has generally happened in practice so far. This will help increase the quality of bid packages.