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Internal Trade Department upbeat drug stores ready to sell prescribed meds

Internal Trade Department upbeat drug stores ready to sell prescribed meds

THURSDAY, August 01, 2019

The Internal Trade Department has expressed confidence that most drug stores across the country are ready to sell medication prescribed by doctors as a measure to deal with the high prices of medical care at private hospitals.

Prayote Phensut, deputy director general of the department, was speaking after his consultation with the dean of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Pharmacy on Wednesday, who is a member of the Pharmaceutical Association of Thailand.

Prayote said he was confident of the readiness of drug stores after talking with the dean, who told him that most of the country’s 10,000 drug stores were up to general pharmacy practice (GPP) standard and could thus sell drugs to patients with prescriptions from private hospitals.

He said he was assured that all drug stores around the country would be up to the GPP standard within two or three years.

Private hospitals claim that the bills for their medical services are high because of high prices of drugs, prompting the government to come up with a measure to force the hospitals to allow patients to opt out and buy their medication outside. The hospitals have retaliated, arguing that drug stores are not up to the GPP standard.

“A lot of pharmacists have graduated and the certified pharmacists have a good knowledge of medicine,” Prayote said.

“The public can therefore rest assured that drug stores where patients will buy medications with prescriptions from private hospitals are reliable and exist in sufficient number to serve them. 

The pharmaceutical association told Prayote that that while the private hospitals’ claim about drug stores not being ready to take prescription drug orders might have been true 20 or 30 years ago, it wasn’t the case today.

He added that private hospitals had a deadline of midnight Wednesday to submit their price list of drugs to the Internal Trade Department.

The department would compile QR codes of all medicines given out by private hospitals that must be put up on boards for patients to see by August 15. Each QR code would allow patients to compare prices of medications at all private hospitals.

Prayote added that the department would investigate if certain hospitals charge were found to be charging too much for a drug without a proper reason for doing so.