“The long awaited transition plan is finally upon us. The new plan for device compliance is now clear with an expedited application process available to most manufacturers.”

David Vo
General Manager
Asia Actual VietNam

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Vietnam Releases New Medical Device Regulations

Published on: November 16th, 2021

Updated on:  April 10th, 2022

Significant Changes Made to the Medical Device Registration Process in Vietnam

On November 8th, the Ministry of Health (MOH) officially released Decree 98/2021 ND-CP, which implements significant new changes to the rules governing medical device registration in Vietnam (the English version can be found here). The new regulatory requirements under Decree 98/2021 ND-CP will go into effect on January 1, 2022 and will replace previously issued Decree 36/2016, Decree 169/2018, and Decree 03/2020/ND-CP. Manufacturers seeking registration in Vietnam can now apply for Market Authorization (MA) licenses which will remain valid indefinitely and require 10 to 90 days for the registration process. All aspects of the new Decree streamline compliance requirements compared to earlier plans and are expected to be received positively by industry.

Important Highlights of Decree 98/2021:

  1. All existing, or newly issued Import Licenses will remain valid until Dec 31, 2022. (No new Import License applications will be accepted after Dec 31, 2021.) Class C and D devices with Import Licenses will avoid a technical review and be processed in 10 days when applying for a Market Authorization (MA) License.
  2. All Class B devices (not covered by a valid Import License) must have a MA License to be imported from Jan 1, 2022. (Note: Class A devices have required an MA License since Jan 1, 2020.)
  3. Class C and D devices (not covered by a valid Import License) that are listed in Circular 30/2015 (link to list here), must have a MA License to be imported from Jan 1, 2022.
  4. Class C and D devices that are not listed in Circular 30/2015, can be imported with a Classification Certificate until Dec 31, 2022 after which a MA License will be required.
  5. Class B MA License application will have the same requirements as for Class A devices starting Jan 1, 2022.
  6. For Class C and D devices with reference country approval, the technical review is waived. MOH application target proceeding time will be 10 days with reference country approval. (Note: China and Korea have been added to the US, Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada as reference countries.)
  7. MA Licenses will be issued without an expiration date (instead of the previous 5-year validity period).
  8. Registration Holders do not need to be the initial importer; and multiple importers/distributors can be authorized under the same MA license.
  9. Third Party Classification process has been removed and is now the responsibility of the applicant/registration holder.
  10. Asia Actual recommends manufacturers of all product categories with Reference Country approval seek an MA license as soon as possible as they do not expire, are reviewed quickly, and can be registered with relatively little documentation.

Regulatory Requirements for New Medical Devices

Manufacturers seeking registration in Vietnam will have a few potential pathways to register their products depending on the classification, category, and current approval status. Classification is based on risk and closely follows GHTF guidelines. More information can be found in Circular 39/2016. Originally, Class A and B devices were supposed to undergo a quick administrative review by the Health Department of the province where the Registration Holder is located, with approval granted within 1-2 weeks. However, after the MOH’s meeting on Dec. 31, 2021, the MOH will immediately grant the registration number for Class A and B applications and then conduct a post-market review. This significantly reduces the review time for Class B devices from 60 days.

Class C and D devices listed in Circular 30/2015 can apply for an Import License if submitted before January 1, 2022 or apply for a Market Authorization (MA) license. Import Licenses will expire December 31, 2022 while MA licenses will remain valid indefinitely. A full list of products found in Circular 30/2015  can be found further below and include ventilators, infant incubators, pacemakers, x-ray machines, MRIs, hemodialysis devices, etc.

Class C and D devices not listed in Circular 30 can continue to be freely imported through December 31, 2022 with only a classification document. However, Asia Actual encourages all manufacturers of Class C and D products, including those not listed in Circular 30, seek a MA license sooner rather than later to avoid any delays if there is a swell of applications as the deadline nears. Additionally, since MA licenses do not expire under the new Decree, manufacturers don’t need to worry about renewing their registration in Vietnam like other markets.

The MOH has also postponed the implementation of CSDT documentation requirement until January 1, 2023. Until then, all MA license applications must include, but are not limited to, the following documents:

  • Application Form
  • Certificate of Classification, Letter of Authorization, Declaration of Conformity, etc.
  • Certificate of Free Sale (CFS)
  • Certificate of QMS (ISO 13485)
  • IFU and Technical Summary issued by the Registration Holder in Vietnamese
  • Vietnamese labels

Once approved, the MOH will update the disclosure portal within 1 day,

Beginning January 1, 2023, all new Class C and D products will require a MA license prior to importation and applications submitted after this date will need to be submitted in accordance with CSDT. Since registrations won’t expire anymore, Registration Holders should maintain access to latest product information, distribution records, and up to date QMS documentation to ensure timely response should a provincial MOH office request to see anything.

Expedited Review for Products with Reference Country Approval

Under the new medical device regulations, the MOH also updated the expedited review process for medical devices with at least 1 Reference Country approval, which includes the USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, Korea and China. As part of Decree 98/2021, the MOH extended acceptable Reference Country approval to China’s NMPA and Korea’s MFDS. Products with an approval from at least one of these markets will still need to submit the required documentation (technical summary, label, IFU, brochure until Dec. 31, 2022, then CSDT) but will not undergo a technical dossier evaluation which intends to shorten the wait time from 60 working days to 10.

Additionally, to help manufacturers already on the market make a smooth transition to MA licenses, the MOH will also waive the technical reviews for Class C and D for products with an Import License.

License Review Fees and Timelines for Registration in Vietnam

DMEC Fees Standard Review Time Review Time w/ Ref Country Approval
Class A VND 1 million US$43 Immediate Immediate
Class B VND 3 million
Immediate Immediate
Class C VND 5 million
10-90 days 10 days
Class D VND 5 million
10-90 days 10 days
Advertising VND 100,000
5 days

Regulatory and Administrative Reforms

An additional crucial component of Decree No. 98/2021 was MOH’s effort to streamline the registration process in Vietnam and adjust how products are monitored. To improve the application process, the MOH will remove the additional third-party classification requirements, made MA licenses valid indefinitely, permits Registration Holders to designate importers, and abolishes the advertisement approval requirements. Administratively, the MOH will grant provincial offices more oversight over Class A and B devices held in their jurisdiction and will decentralize specialized units to evaluate technical dossiers and improve quality control.

Amendments and Modifications

The Registration Holder will be responsible for providing the MOH with written notice and supporting documents for any of the following changes:

  1. Change of name or address of Registration Holder
  2. Changing the name of the owner of the circulation or the name of the owner of medical equipment;
  3. Change of either the name or address of the medical equipment manufacturer;
  4. Change of packing specifications;
  5. Change of warranty facility;
  6. Change the label or the instructions for use but do not change the purpose of use, indications for use, features, and/or performance of the medical equipment.

These changes will then be made publicly available on the Medical Disclosure Portal within 10 days.

Advertising Regulations

Under Decree 98/2021, all registered medical devices will need to be made public on the MOH website before using.

Advertisement applications will need to include:

  1. Manufacturer and Product Information
  2. Registration Number
  3. Feature/Effect
  4. Registration Holder information
  5. Any Warnings
  6. Type of Content
  7. Advertising Content

Additional Notes

Accessories, Components, and Consumables

Under Decree 98/2021, article 1, point 2d, accessories to medical equipment do not need to seek registration in Vietnam. Manufacturers can still choose to separately register the accessories or consumables in accordance with their classification but applications with accessories or components included with the main unit will be rejected. Unless the product’s accessories or consumables are readily available on the market from third parties, Asia Actual recommends registering all key accessories/components separately to ensure customers maintain access to the items they need to operate the main medical device unit. Additionally, there are tax benefits to registering the components as medical devices incur a VAT tax of 5% while non-medical equipment is 10%.

Software Will to Be Regulated

At this time, software is considered a medical device and will require registration in Vietnam.

As Article 3, point 8 of 98/2021 states:

   8. The provisions of this Decree on classification, grant of free-sale registration numbers and announcement of eligibility for trading are not applied to:

         a. Software (software) used for medical equipment;

        b. Medical equipment is bought and sold like normal goods imported in the form of gifts or presents to individuals or organizations other than medical facilities.

Pricing and Tender Disclosure Portals

In recent years, the Vietnamese MOH has taken several steps to increase transparency with one of the biggest being the Medical Device Disclosure Portal. This portal provides pricing information for all products on the market including the owner’s selling price, the selling price of each distributor, agent, and the winning bid price at state-owned medical facilities for all organizations and individuals to access and refer to. See Asia Actual’s blog on the topic to learn more about the portal and how to navigate. To enter a tender, local distributors will need to submit an Import License, a MA license or a Classification document dependent on their requirement at the time. Once a winning bid has been determined, it will be the responsibility of the state-owned medical facility to report the final price on the Disclosure Portal.

Decree 98/2021 implements additional measures to improve the oversight of medical equipment prices to better identify inconsistencies such as winning bid prices among similar medical devices at different facilities across the country.

Some of the main updates include:

  1. Adds medical devices and biological products to the list of items subject to price declaration.
  2. Details the pricing information required to be declared including the cost of imports or cost of production, management costs, training and retraining costs, warranty costs, expected profit, and final sale price.
  3. Stipulates that only the owner of the circulation number (Registration Holder) or the distributor authorized by the owner/Registration Holder can publish the maximum price. All other distributors are then prohibited from selling for more than the price announced by the Registration Holder
  4. Allows competent state management agencies (not only the Ministry of Health) to request additional price information from Registration Holders and Distributors when necessary.

Class C and D Devices That Do, and Don’t, Require a MA License

Below is the list of products outlined in Circular 30/2015 that required registration in Vietnam under an Import License previously. After January 1, 2022, these product categories will require Market Authorization (MA) licenses. Per Decree 98/2021, all Class C and D products not found in this list can be imported with only a Classification document until January 1, 2023. Even though it’s not yet required, it is recommended that manufacturers of products not on the below list seek registration in Vietnam as early as possible.

1 X-ray treatment equipment
2 Endoscopic surgery system
3 Radiotherapy equipment (Cobalt machine for cancer treatment, Linear accelerator for cancer treatment, Gamma scalpel of all kinds, Radiotherapy equipment of various kinds)
4 Patient monitor
5 Infusion pump, Electric injection pump
6 Scalpel (high-frequency electric, laser, ultrasound)
7 Surgical microscope
8 System of prostate surgical equipment
9 Artificial cardiopulmonary machine
10 Positioning equipment in surgery
11 Cold surgical equipment
12 Infant incubator. Infant warmers
13 Anesthesia/anesthesia machine with breathing
14 Ventilation machine
15 Cardiac pacemaker, pacing
16 High-pressure oxygen chamber
17 Extracorporeal lithotripsy system / endoscopic lithotripsy
18 High intensity ultrasound equipment system for tumor treatment
19 Dialysis device
20 Ophthalmic surgical system (Laser Excimer, Phemtosecond Laser, Phaco, vitreous cutter, corneal flap cutter)
21 Eyeglasses, contact lenses (near, far, chaotic) and contact lens storage solution
22 Laser treatment machine used in ophthalmology
23 Types of equipment, long-term implant materials (over 30 days) into the body
24 Types of devices and materials that interfere with the body belong to cardiology, cranial neurology
25 X-ray imaging devices
26 Magnetic resonance system
27 Ultrasound diagnostic machine
28 Endoscopic diagnostic system
29 Cyclotron system
30 Radioactive isotope diagnostic equipment (PET, PET / CT, SPECT, SPECT / CT systems, iodine-focused iodine concentration devices I 130 , I 131 )
31 Refractometer, cornea automatically
32 Electrophysiological machine (EEG, ECG, electromechanical machine)
33 Retinal power meter
34 Meter osteoporsis
35 Fundus scanners/fluorescence scanner
36 Ultrasound fetal heart monitor
37 Respiratory function analyzer

Come Grow With Us

Asia Actual specializes in helping medical device manufacturers grow their sales in Asia with experienced, bi-lingual commercial and regulatory experts on the ground in each market.

Contact Asia Actual today with any questions regarding registration in Vietnam or how the new regulatory requirements under Decree 98/2021 may affect your business.

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