Private hospitals to display prices of drugs, says Thai Government
Private hospitals in Thailand will have to display the price of medicines so that consumers can make better-informed decisions prior to purchase, starting from this week.
According to a report by the National News Bureau of Thailand, the country’s Ministry of Commerce has implemented a new measure after announcing medicine and medical supplies as controlled items, requiring hospitals to display pricing of some 3,000 items via QR codes allowing the general public to make comparisons.
Deputy Minister of Commerce Chutima Bunyapraphasara said that the central committee on pricing of goods and services’ meeting has agreed to authorise the Department of Internal Trade to implement control measures for pricing of medicine, medical supplies and medical services.
The measure will require private hospitals, manufacturers, importers and wholesalers to report sales prices to the department, which will then later be published on the department’s website. Any changes to pricing must be informed 15 days in advance.
On January 9 this year, the Ministry of Commerce approved plans to put medical-related fees, including drugs, supplies and service charges, on the price control list of the government’s central committee on prices of goods and services. The order for private hospitals to display prices of drugs is a direct follow-up from the subcommittee formed to work out measures to control medical-related fees.
Failure to comply with the new measure will result in up to 1 year imprisonment or up to 20,000 baht fine, or both. Private hospitals, which refuse to issue prescriptions to patients for medicine purchases outside the hospital, will face up to 5 years imprisonment, up to 100,000 baht fine, or both.
The Department of Internal Trade will be inviting representatives from hospitals to explain the measure, and will consider further measures to control medicine and medical service pricing in the future.