Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Opening of the Regional Conference on “Combatting Falsified and Sub-standard Medicines” [Unofficial Translation]

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CNV: 

In addition to the prepared text, opening the regional conference on combatting falsified and substandard medicines held in Phnom Penh, Samdech Techo made the following selected impromptu (and unofficial translated) comments:

Lack of Cooperation on Combating Falsified and/or Sub-standard Medicines

Allow me to raise some points that Cambodia encountered in its national framework. This would not include cooperation with other countries involved, production and circulation. I could remember that in the 1980s, there was this effort by the Ministry of Health to put to rest sale of illegal (traded) medicines. In those days, we had issued a regulation that every pharmacy and/or dispensary must be recognized by law and there must be a certified medical staff working there. There was also this problem of sale of medicines in disposal to light. We still have this practice in some of our rural areas.

Let me come back to this issue of arresting illegally traded medicines. In the course of legal pursuit, the Ministry of Health had always lost the case at the court. What was the reason behind this legal loss? The point was that the tax department exercised tax collections from them. The court based on this fact decided that the traders were legal. I also wish to inform you that prior to the Paris Peace Agreement, for which HE Jean David Levitte who is here today was a tough negotiator, there was no judicial reform yet […] I convened an urgent meeting to find out why the Ministry of Health lost the case in the court to illegal medicines traders? The court then proved those traders had their licenses and paid tax to the tax collectors […]

This was a lack of cooperation between authorities. In light of this, I had to form up a committee to combat falsified and substandard medicines, in which there are 14 institutions involved led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior. In absence of cooperation, we could not fight with this hidden killers. Medicines came from various sources, and a majority of them even expired and got sold out to people who lack this kind of knowledge. Cambodia, so to speak, has been one of the countries that has been a victim of this situation.

Take Combating Falsified/Substandard Medicines to ASEAN & Other Mechanisms

I also discussed recommendation sixth yesterday with HE Jean David Levitte, as well as when the six-country delegations, including Cambodia. I think it would not be sufficient to have “the Phnom Penh Conference Declaration” to fight this problem concerning wellbeing and public health faced by least developed and developing countries in relation to falsified and substandard medicines. I think it would be an opportunity to start from what we are doing in Phnom Penh to expand it to other forums. Primarily I think we have the presences of delegations from the Mekong countries, who are also members of ASEAN. We also have presences of the Ambassadors of ASEAN countries here. We should think of incorporating this topic of combating falsified and substandard medicines into the framework of ASEAN.

In just days, later next week, there will be this ASEAN Summit, and ASEAN with partnering countries. It may not be ready for it. As the Kingdom of Thailand will take its rotating chairmanship of ASEAN for 2019, I am asking the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Thai delegation to take on this issue. We should expand this topic into ASEAN. We also have other mechanisms beside ASEAN. We have the Lancang-Mekong, because we have participation from the People’s Republic of China here with other Mekong countries […] we do not have Asian Development Bank, though. We could think of other mechanisms such as East Asia […]

A Topic for ASEM, Supports in ICAAP

Since Cambodia is going to host the Asia Europe Meeting in 2020, I am seeking considerations of Madame Ambassador of France as well as HE Jean David Levitte on whether or not to make this issue a topic of ASEM? Though Cambodia is hosting the meeting, we also are appreciating principle of seeking a topic that we shared interest. I think we can do it because there is no reason that this will cause opposition to anyone. Besides, (we have this) Francophone mechanism, which has one part on Asia and another in Africa, where there are least and developing countries, who are facing similar problem. I think we should look at this issue beyond just the Phnom Penh declaration.

I also ask the Cambodian delegation who will take part in the forthcoming ICAPP Meeting in Nepal, and I will also conduct an official visit to Nepal at the end of November, (to consider this matter). ICAPP is a conference of close to hundred of political parties from Asia and the Pacific. Would it be possible to ask for those political parties to support the Phnom Penh declaration on this issue? There will be many ruling parties going there. There will also be many parties that are not in the government […]

Calling on Partners to Support the Phnom Penh Declaration

As for this declaration, I am suggesting that we should call on other partners to support and take parts in this Phnom Penh Declaration initiative. I hope that President Macron (of France) will be interested in measures taken in relation to public wellbeing. France has been paying attention on this issue in addition to climate change. I am of the opinion that this is something that requires joint efforts making it an international current. We have here some medical producers and some countries. That will not be enough. We must work it together – both producing and non-producing countries. This issue requires more than competencies of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior at the national level. In the regional and world levels, no one country and/or one mechanism could do it alone with success. There needs to have a wider cooperation […]./.