Tricks used in sale of fake cosmetics and functional foods

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tricks used in sale of fake cosmetics and functional foods

Positive results gained from implementing Directive 17

Pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, functional foods, medical herbs and traditional medicine are the main items of smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods which are developing in a complicated manner. These activities take place mainly at border areas, via airway, or express delivery and post in Hanoi, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Bac Ninh, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Cao Bang, Quang Tri, Da Nang, HCMC, Tay Ninh, Can Tho, Long An and An Giang.

According to the Standing Office of the National Steering Committee 389, since the Prime Minister issued Directive No. 17/CT-TTg on strengthening the fight against smuggling, production and trading of counterfeit and poor-quality goods for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, functional foods, herbs and traditional medicine, the work has achieved positive results. Especially, amid the outbreak of Covid-19, the tight control over people and vehicles on exit and entry across border gates, airports and seaports is performed effectively. Therefore, smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods tended to decrease sharply.

When the competent forces strictly control border areas of provinces of the Northern, the Central Highlands and the Southwest region, or via air, smugglers shift to operate on the sea, via postal delivery service, international border gates, trails and border crossings.

Notably, in some provinces and cities such as Quang Ninh (Mong Cai, Quang Ha), Lang Son (Chi Ma, Tan Thanh, Cao Loc), Da Nang (Tien Sa), Quang Tri (Dong Ha, Lao Bao) and Tay Ninh (Moc Bai), smugglers have abused the investment incentives policy to work with foreign smugglers and use advanced technology for smuggling. Some FDI companies fail to implement the production of goods in Vietnam, but only import goods from China, then replace labels with Vietnamese origin to export to other countries.

In the domestic market, the e-commerce activities are increasing. Smugglers have used many new tricks such as taking photos, using fake addresses, and live streams, posting advertisements of cosmetics and functional foods which are inconsistent with the nature of products on Facebook or Zalo.

With the strong development of domestic and international postal and delivery services and shipping, smugglers have transported smuggled goods, fake goods and low-quality goods into warehouses of parcels. This is the loophole for smugglers to consume these goods, causing difficulties for competent forces to determine the responsibility of the suspects for infringing goods to inspect and handle them.

Need to coordinate and share information

According to local Steering Committees 389, e-commerce activities are an inevitable trend of the technology era, but they are a big challenge for state management as well as the fight against smuggling, trade fraud and fake goods.

Websites that do business and introduce infringing products often have international domain names, and the domain name registration cannot be identified, making it difficult to detect and handle violations. The number of aggregated websites and personal websites on social networks that do not comply with the law on management, supply and use of information, advertising of products, and sale of low-quality goods has happened widely.

Individuals using livestreams to sell non-originating goods are increasing. The detection and prevention of individuals is difficult due to the flexible nature of the website and social networks that are easy to post or delete.

The Standing Office of the National Steering Committee 389 suggested there needs to be close coordination among competent agencies. Especially, industries and business associations should organize conferences and seminars to give recommendations and identification for the group of pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, functional foods, medicinal herbs and traditional herbs.

Coordinate with media agencies and intensify the dissemination of information related to counterfeit goods, imitation goods, and low-quality items.

Regularly update the list of organizations, individuals that commit acts of infringing, and fake products widely on mass media and websites of the health sector from central to local levels. Closely coordinate with bordering countries and countries in the Mekong sub-region in the prevention of counterfeit medicine; participate in regional and global projects and activities related to the prevention of counterfeit medicine.

In 2020, the local Steering Committees detected 5,723 violations, of these 1,751 cases of smuggling, 3,643 cases of trade fraud, and 329 cases of fake goods.

Seizing 2,671 smuggling cases of pharmaceuticals, 2,477 cases of cosmetics, 380 cases of functional foods, 52 cases of traditional medicine and 31 cases of medicinal herbs.

Imposing 5,222 cases of administrative fines and contributed nearly VND40 billion to the budget; handled 13 cases with 21 suspects. The competent forces revoked licenses of two establishments, nine certificates of food safety conditions, 12 Content Marketing Certificates, and three certificates of safety and security conditions.

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