On 26 September, EuroCham Vietnam participated in a working session with the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Department of Public Procurement (DPP) regarding the draft decree on Vietnam’s 2023 Tendering Law.
The meeting was facilitated by DPP Head Tran Hao Hung and Deputy Head Nguyen Thi Thuy Hang. Attendees included EuroCham Advocacy Manager Diep Truong, representatives from the Ministry of Health (MOH), Vietnam Social Security (VSS), hospitals, pharmaceutical and medtech associations, and the US-ASEAN Business Council.
Discussions centered around hospital concerns related to direct contracting, centralized procurement, vendor selection, and compensation stipulations in the draft decree dated 25 September 2023.
The primary focus of the discussion was to address concerns related to several key aspects of the Tendering Law, including:
- Direct contracting: Participants examined Article 23.1 of the draft decree, which deals with direct contracting and its implications.
- Centralized procurement: Article 53 of the draft decree, which outlines centralized procurement processes, sparked extensive discussion among attendees.
- Vendor selection: Article 55 of the draft decree, which pertains to the selection of vendors for drugs, chemicals, testing equipment, and medical apparatus, was analyzed in detail.
- Compensation processes: Article 55.3 was scrutinized concerning the compensation processes for drugs, chemicals, and medical equipment.
- Transparent procurement portal: Hospitals will be required to specify the exact quantity of medical supplies on the MPI procurement portal, which will then autonomously select the provider from previous successful bidders. This process aims to ensure transparency and protect hospitals during evaluations.
- Vendor selection criteria: Attendees stressed the importance of reviewing the functioning of the procurement portal and the criteria for selecting the second successful bidder for supplementary supply. Clarity in these criteria was considered crucial.
- Shelf life requirements: Participants acknowledged potential challenges in enforcing the requirement that chemicals and testing equipment must have at least 70% of their total shelf life remaining at the time of delivery, as stipulated in Article 90.1.b of the Draft Decree. DPP expressed a willingness to revisit this requirement.
- Evaluation standards: Discussion arose concerning the technical ratio as outlined in Article 35.2.c of the Draft Decree. DPP proposed a flexible range of 10 to 50% for the technical ratio, with reference to Circular 15/2019/TT-BYT.
The DPP welcomed ongoing feedback on the draft decree. This collaborative dialogue between EuroCham and Vietnamese authorities continues to facilitate constructive change and improvements in procurement regulations, particularly in the healthcare sector.