On April 13, 2018, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Vietnam and the World Health Organization held a conference to introduce the main contents of the Draft Law on Preventing and Combatting Harmful Effects of Alcohol and Beer (the “Draft Law”). The Draft Law contains six chapters with 22 articles and is aimed at preventing and reducing harmful effects from alcohol and beer. The provisions introduce various measures geared toward reducing sales and controlling the production and quality of alcohol and beer supplied to the public.
One of the proposed measures to reduce alcohol and beer sales includes reducing the hours during which alcohol and beer may be sold. In this regard, the Draft Law proposes three possible measures: (1) limiting beer and alcohol sales from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; (2) limiting sales from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; or (3) limiting sales based on a phase-in to be set by the government. It is possible that special areas, such as tourist areas, recreation areas, and airports, could be exempt from such restrictions.
The Draft Law also proposes restrictions on promotions and advertising of alcohol and beer. For example, direct promotions to consumers may be prohibited, and giving beer and alcohol as prizes in contests may also be prohibited. Advertisements for certain products or advertisements in certain forms may also be prohibited or restricted to certain hours. Additionally, restrictions may be placed on depictions of drinking alcohol and beer in movies and on TV.
Some provisions in the Draft Law are geared toward regulating the density of establishments where beer and alcohol are sold within an area—for example, there may be a minimum distance required between sales establishments, such as at least 500 meters. Other regulations in the Draft Law pertain to the management of home-brewed spirits.
It is expected that the Draft Law will be submitted to the National Assembly for debate in October 2018. The Draft Law is expected to receive great interest in the public comment periods, and may be further adjusted.