|A drugstore on Hanoi's Ngoc Khanh street (Photo: kinhtedothi.vn)
However, it hasn't all been smooth sailing.
Some localities have not completed the connection, including private pharmacies in Thanh Oai, Quoc Oai, Thanh Tri and Soc Son districts, according to the Hanoi Health Department.
New drug-related information has not been fully and regularly updated on the management system.
A recent inspection at 70 drugstores connected to the system found some pharmacies have not updated information sufficiently and regularly.
Some have not yet used computer software proficiently.
Tran Van Chung, the city health department’s deputy director, said there were problems in the use of the system, including obstacles in pharmacies due to faulty or outdated computer systems, network access and concern about information security.
He also said linkages with the national management system also faced many difficulties due to the lack of a standard and compatible application.
Pharmacies across the country are using different software supplied by information technology companies such as Viettel, Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications and EFFECT company.
Quach Thanh Hien, the owner of a drugstore in Dong Da district, said she was using Viettel software, but her internet connection was always slow.
“It takes a lot of time if I want to change to other software. It requires a lot of administrative procedures,” Hien told Kinh Te&Do Thi (Economy and Urban Affairs) newspaper.
Nguyen Thi Bang, an officer of a health facility in Chuong My district, said the connection with the national management system was also facing many difficulties due to some workers' limited computer skills.
Many small pharmacy owners in the village were not interested in connecting to the system because they only sold a small quantity of medicine and made little profit, Bang said.
With more than 6,900, Hanoi has the largest number of pharmacies in the country. So far, 86.8 percent of them have connected to the management system.
The system has updated a list of about 52,000 out of 60,000 medicines, helping identify the origin of the medicines. New information is updated to the system every day, according to the Ministry of Health.
Information about drugs on the market, including quality, source and price, is available in the system, and local residents can check the origin of medicine as well as expiration dates.