Thailand Makes Private Hospitals Display Drug Prices

Thailand private hospitals must display the prices of mainly medicines used in emergency cases.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — Over 350 private hospitals in Thailand were required to display the prices of 3,000 drugs, as well as fees for medical supplies and services starting yesterday.

The Bangkok Post reported that private hospitals are now required to display the prices of 10 per cent of the 30,103 drugs on the Thailand Medicine Terminology list, mainly the medicines used in emergency cases.

Internal Trade Department director-general Whichai Phochanakij reportedly said a private hospital must display the price lists of drugs either on its website or via QR codes within 45 days after the effective date, with non-compliance subjected to a fine not more than 10,000 baht (RM1,321) and/ or jail not more than a year.

Private hospitals are also required to inform the Internal Trade Department in advance before raising prices.

The mandated disclosure of drug prices is part of the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients programme that makes it compulsory for hospitals to give patients prescriptions so that they can opt to buy medicines from outside pharmacies.

Private hospitals are required to first give prescriptions to all emergency patients and to all types of patients at a later date.

The programme mandates free emergency medical care for up to 72 hours at any hospital in Thailand.

Malaysia has yet to make it compulsory for private hospitals to display a price list of standard procedures, even as the government is seeking to curb rising health care costs by imposing price ceilings on medicines.

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