Friday, September 20, 2019

DIT proceeds with project to control price of medicines

Aug 20. 2019
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By THE NATION

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The Department of Internal Trade (DIT) will proceed with its project to control the price of medicines at private hospitals now that it has received their price lists. Hospitals selling medicines above the median price set by the department will face fines and/or imprisonment.

Also, since August 16, every hospital has been required to print out QR codes so patients can compare prices. 

Prayoth Benyasut, the department’s deputy director-general, said private hospitals, manufacturers, importers and dealers provided the department with their price lists on July 31, and DIT has used this data to set a price for each item, which will be made accessible to customers. 

Previously, patients could not compare prices and were overcharged as private hospitals used to add additional costs such as the pharmacist’s salary and the cost of maintaining the medicine department. 

“If hospitals are not able to explain why a medicine is overpriced, they will be fined Bt140,000 or be imprisoned for seven years, or face both a jail term and fine,” Prayoth said.

DIT will release a list of pharmacies on its official website, www.dit.go.th, so people can have their prescriptions filled there, though this option is still being considered by the Pharmacy Council of Thailand.

The department has also sent its agents to check if private hospitals are displaying the QR codes. People can also check the price of drugs on the www.hospitals.dit.go.thwebsite.

Private hospitals will also be required to follow the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking’s notification on regulations on drugs, medical supplies and medical services, which insists that patients be provided with estimated costs before they are admitted to hospital. 

Hospitals are also required to provide patients with prescriptions that have clear information and instruction. 

Meanwhile, DIT said it will summon 20 private hospitals to testify after they failed to meet the July 31 deadline to provide their price lists. If they don’t show up, they will face three months in jail and/or fined Bt5,000. Those who have failed to provide complete data will be fined Bt2,000, while those that have failed to respond to the deadline will be fined Bt20,000 and/or imprisoned for a year.

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