Private hospitals' price deadline pushed back

Private hospitals' price deadline pushed back

The Commerce Ministry will extend the submission deadline for 353 private hospitals to provide information about the actual costs of drugs, medical supplies and medical services to July 31, saying the decision is in line with a cabinet resolution on Tuesday.

According to the Internal Trade Department, the latest cabinet meeting approved 54 products to go on the price control list, including drugs, supplies and related services.

Whichai Phochanakij, the department's director-general, said the submission period should give the hospitals enough time. The department has received only 20 documents from private hospitals so far.

"The ministry announced the new extension period on Friday," Mr Whichai said.

Previously, private hospitals were asked to submit their actual costs and prices for 3,992 drugs under the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients scheme by July 12.

By July 22, the costs and prices of 868 medical supply items and 5,286 medical services were to be submitted.

With the changes, the Commerce Ministry will postpone providing a QR code for the public from July 29 to Aug 15, when consumers can check prices for drugs, medical supplies and medical services before making the decision to pay for and receive treatment from private hospitals.

The department enforces laws stipulating that any hospital that fails to comply could result in a one-year prison term for executives or a fine of up to 20,000 baht or both, as well as 2,000 baht per day in fines until the violation is rectified.

"The information that is gathered from private hospitals will be the reference pricing for consumers," Mr Whichai said. "The private hospitals have to display prices of drugs and fees for medical supplies and services in order to allow consumers to make better-informed decisions prior to receiving treatment."

He said that when private hospitals need to change the prices and fees, they must inform the department before making any changes. The department will update the prices and fees on its website.

Private hospitals have to provide prescriptions that clearly state illnesses, details and prices of drugs in order to provide many options to patients for buying drugs from other drugstores.

Consumers continuously file complaints about expensive drugs, medical supplies and medical services at private hospitals. Some have filed police reports and their cases are being investigated.

The department also announced two regional events for organic products: Biofach Southeast Asia 2019 and Natural Expo Southeast Asia 2019.

Both shows will take place July 11-14 at Impact Muang Thong Thani.

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