Although Vietnam remains a relatively small economy, growth in cosmetics and personal care is expected to be spectacular in the next five year period, which is likely to translate into double-digit value gains in most beauty and personal care categories on an annual basis, including body care, colour cosmetics, fragrances, facial care, soap, bath and shower, hair care and sun care.
Bearing this in mind, the Vietnamese government is keen to streamline the industry and to ensure that cosmetics and personal care products available in the country meet with international regulatory standards.
And according to the Drug Administration, which operates under the Ministry of Health the heightened scrutiny has resulted in an increased vigilance of formulations and the ingredients that are being used.
In this latest crack down the brands that were removed from stores shelves included Ngoc An cream by Tung An for the treatment of pigmentation and a sheep’s placenta cream manufactured by Hoang Ha My Company.
Lab reports showed banned substances
According to the authorities both creams contained clobetasol propionate, a very potent corticosteroid that is used to treat skin inflammation but is also banned from cosmetics by the Vietnamese authorities because it has been known to cause skin thinning, allergies and other related conditions.
Likewise, the authorities also demanded the immediate removal of Bao Lam Cream acne treatment, by the Bao Lam Company, after testing proved positive for another banned ingredient, dexamethason acetat, which is known to cause irritability and decreased wound healing.
The investigation also led to the suspension of eight other products made by cosmetics company Long Thuang, which included shampoo, conditioner, a natural skin cream and a lip balm.
Vietnam cracks down on fake cosmetics
Vietnamese authorities have concurrently been taking initiatives to stamp out the manufacturing of counterfeit cosmetics in the country, which has become a significant problem in recent years.
In February of last year Vietnamese police reported they had discovered and seized more than 31,000 products, as well as approximately 200kgs of raw materials and ingredients presumably intended for the manufacture of products at a warehouse facility in Quang Ninh Province, according to an online news report from Nn Express.
The counterfeit operation was said to be sophisticated, and although the brand name has been withheld for legal reasons, the plan even included anti-counterfeit stamps which had been affixed to the labels on the packaging.
Although the batch was relatively small, it underlined a much larger business that continues to flourish in the Northern Vietnamese region bordering China.
Police on both sides of the border say they have continued to crack down on counterfeiting operations of this nature, but many fake products continue to find their way into outlets all over the major urban areas of China.