A pharmacist in An Giang Province speaks about being shaken down by market managers. PHOTO COURTESY OF TUOI TRE
Officials in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang have demanded punishment for market managers who were discovered shaking down drug store owners.
On Sunday, Tuoi Tre quoted Vo Nguyen Nam, spokesman for the An Giang People’s Committee, as saying that market managers in 2011 and 2012 had wrongfully fined 173 drug stores more than VND680 million (US$32,270).
The managers fined 122 stores for violating International Good Pharmacy Practices (GPP); a set of guidelines that did not have to be implemented until the end of 2013, according to the Ministry of Health
Work on the inspection was not recorded on paper; instead , investigators had to conduct oral interviews with the pharmacists.
Many stores said the market managers asked them to pay cash to avoid inspections.
Investigations confirmed that some managers had received the cash bribes.
The provincial government also criticized the An Giang Market Management Department for faulty oversight of its officials.
Nguyen Ai Viet, who has since retired, was head of the department and deputy director of An Giang Department of Industry and Trade at the time of the shakedowns.
Phan Loi, who currently heads the department, must also take responsibility, according to the provincial government's findings.
The authorities have asked them to submit a list of market managers suspected of taking bribes to the police for further investigation.
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