Accusations against Vietnam deputy health minister investigated

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Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ordered the government inspectorate to investigate allegations that deputy health minister Cao Minh Quang has slanded a local drug company.

According to a letter sent to Dung, the Ho Chi Minh City-based BV Pharma Joint-Venture Co. claimed that Quang has falsely accused the company of illegally selling Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride. The substance is used to produce common flu and allergy remedies, but can also be used to make illegal methamphetamine.

Quang has also encouraged eight other drug dealers to make accusations related to the substance against BV Pharma, the company said. It urged government agencies to clarify the motivation of the official and the companies.

In September, the drug dealers filed accusations at Vietnam's anti-corruption agency, saying that BV Pharma was allowed to import a huge quality of Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride.

In its latest letter, BV Pharma also claimed that in his report to authorities, the deputy health minister falsely accused it of using corn starch to produce fake drugs, a report on Dan Viet, the news website of Vietnam Farmers' Union, said.

According to the report, BV Pharma asked the government to investigate many other "issues" related to Quang, such as abusing power to borrow money from the company, and faking a doctorate degree.

In September, BV Pharma sent a letter to the Ministry of Health, accusing Quang of abusing power by asking the company to lend him VND1 billion (US$48,000) in 2007.

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Meanwhile, a war veteran in HCMC asked the central government police to clarify Quang's qualifications on suspicions that he had made false statements about his qualifications.

In fact, the education ministry last month concluded that his doctorate degree, which was earned at a Swedish university in 1996, was a pre-doctorate degree.

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