Price transparency demand emerging

Price transparency demand emerging

The first batch of Sinovac Biotech's vaccines are displayed on arrival in Thailand on Feb 24. Wichan Charoenkiatpakul
The first batch of Sinovac Biotech's vaccines are displayed on arrival in Thailand on Feb 24. Wichan Charoenkiatpakul

The Internal Trade Department looks set to require private hospitals to inform people of the prices of an additional 100 medicines and medical services related to the pandemic so consumers can view them before deciding whether or not to receive them.

Wattanasak Sur-iam, director-general of the department, said it recently sent a letter to more than 300 private hospitals nationwide, asking them to inform the department of the prices of an additional 100 medicines, medical supplies and services, especially those relating to medical examination and treatment of Covid-19.

Also included on the list were the most popular items relating to chronic diseases such as diabetes and blood pressure under the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (Ucep) scheme.

The Ucep programme requires hospitals to provide compulsory emergency healthcare for up to 72 hours at any hospital in Thailand.

The scheme enables those who require emergency medical care to have treatment at their nearest hospital for a period of 72 hours at zero cost, regardless of whether it is the registered hospital where they receive their regular welfare coverage.

According to Mr Wattanasak, once the prices of additional items have been received and compiled, the department will publish the information on its website and via QR codes as soon as possible in order that members of the public can compare prices and make their decisions.

The Internal Trade Department has posted the prices of 304 medical services on the department's website since February of last year so consumers can view them before deciding whether or not to receive the services.

The service prices include room charges, food, medical checkups and blood tests. The prices will be made available at www.dit.go.th and via QR code.

The department expects there will be an overwhelming interest among patients and members of the public who will be able to browse information regarding the prices of 304 items defined as medical services and compare the prices charged by different private hospitals in the same way they can now compare the prices of other medicines, as provided by the department.

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