Tips to reduce risks when purchasing medical supplies from Vietnam

As the Covid 19 pandemic is still occurring in many countries around the world, a large number of medical equipment or accessories being Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as N95 respirator masks, surgical masks and other items essential to protecting doctors, nurses, others on the front lines of the pandemic are required to be purchased and sold from many different countries to meet the demand for treatment disease globally.

Vietnam is a country that has many enterprises producing medical supplies such as medical gloves, medical masks, which are the focal points supplying goods to many businesses around the world. However, buying and selling quickly, and without researching their partners has caused many businesses to face many risks when purchasing of medical supplies in Vietnam. Here are some tips for buying and selling medical equipment in Vietnam safely and effectively.

Searching for a partner is the necessary work. Currently, to meet the increasing demand for buying and selling medical supplies, many companies switch to the medical supplies business as the broker to take opportunities in this field. It will help the buyer finding a selling partner more convenient because more brokers reach out to buyers.  However, there are many sellers who do not have a valid business registration or are not able to supply the goods, however, they still approach the buyer and guarantee to deliver the goods on request. Many buyers have been deceived by businesses that are not capable of doing business with the deposits, failure to deliver goods, deliver the wrong quality, quantity, … Therefore, searching for the seller carefully, and undertaking due diligence on the seller with the help of local risk management company will help buyers to avoid the risks of buying the wrong goods.

In terms of product prices, when buying medical supplies from a third party (not directly from the manufacturer), the price of the equipment could increase many times compared to the price offered by the manufacturer.  Sometimes, the brokers could not fix the price because their offering price depend on the buying price they receive from manufacturers or traders while the supply of goods are not guaranteed.  This could create problems for the buyer if the delivery and price have been committed to final clients oversea with hefty fine clauses if breaching the contract.

There are potential medical supplies without origin, or quality assurance, being purchased and sold to the market, therefore the buyer needs to ensure the seller provides qualified goods as their request.

When trading with an unqualified seller, there is a risk that the seller cannot meet the required quantity of the goods, especially in the case of the sellers are not the manufacturer. Because the number of goods produced could not meet the demand, in fact, many manufacturing companies in Vietnam have stopped accepting orders for some time from many customers.  However, many the third-party continue to receive orders from buyers, resulting in an inability to deliver on time or inability to meet the required quantity. When having a request for delivery from the buyer, these sellers will not answer the buyer’s questions, refuse to receive phone calls, emails, … leading to the buyer being inaccessible to the seller at this time which affects the business of the buyer.

Especially in the difficult situation when limited traveling between countries are allowed due to the pandemic, the discussion via electronic means such as Email or social network platforms, … will help the parties can discuss in an easy way. However, discussion or exchange of information via electronic means, will meet potentially risk when the buyer exchange with another third party (who may not be representative of the seller). In many cases, the parties exchange messages via regular messaging apps, which cannot determine if the subject exchanging is exactly the seller or not. In the event of a dispute when buying or selling goods, this proof is that the message which cannot determine the sender shall not be enough to prove the wrongdoings. Therefore, when exchanging communication, the parties should take precaution steps to verify the other parties ensuring the exchange is carried out properly with the authorized person.

In addition, to ensure the rights in the purchase and sale of medical supplies, signing the sale and purchase contracts is extremely important.  The contracts should be in written and duly signed and stamped by parties.  Trusting in business should be accompanied with legal documents for sustainable business.   When performing the contract in accordance with the regulations of the law will help the parties to limit risks and this is considered as specific legal evidence that forces the parties to comply with regulations and ensure their rights when buying and selling goods, especially international sale goods.

Finally, with significant transaction, the buyer could minimize risks through the helps of local risk management company in Vietnam to undertake due diligence on the seller’s business registration certificate, business location, real operation at site, adverse media check for past wrongdoings and general personal or corporate reputation.

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