By The Nation
Prof Dr Issarang Nuchprayoon, a cancer expert who teaches at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, said Thailand had won praise mainly because all cancer patients could access treatment through the country’s major healthcare schemes.
Operated by the National Health Security Office (NHSO), the universal coverage healthcare scheme covers about 48 million people in Thailand and offers free cancer treatment.
“Our operating costs for cancer treatment is relatively low and patients have really gained access to necessary medicines,” he said.
Issarang said Thailand had used a central procurement system that gave significant bargaining power and was able to acquire cancer medicines at a relatively low price.
He added that medicines for child patients used to be very expensive in the past while there was a recovery rate as high as 80 per cent for those receiving Bt300,000 worth medical care and just 20 per cent for children who were only given Bt100,000 worth of care.
“In 2008, the NHSO agreed to consider using the same standards of treatment for child cancer patients at all hospitals. That’s how children in Thailand can access the same kind of cancer treatments,” Issarang said.
He added that there were hundreds of cancer types for adults and each required a different medical approach or treatments.
“In discussions with the NHSO, we have agreed that adult patients must have access to medical services so that medical specialists can determine which approach should be used for their case,” Issarang said.