Private hospitals urged to cap prices

Private hospitals urged to cap prices

Hospital staff check information.
Hospital staff check information.

The Internal Trade Department is asking for coordination from private hospitals to help cap drug prices and medical service charges in a bid to reduce the cost of living.

Wattanasak Sur-iam, the department's director-general, said the agency held discussions with the Private Hospital Association on Thursday, seeking cooperation from more than 300 private hospitals in ensuring adherence to the law.

Private hospitals are required to display clear QR codes, allowing the public to check drug prices and service rates.

Complaints regarding discrepancies can be reported via the department's 1569 hotline. The department will investigate the reports and take legal action if any violations are found, he said.

Mr Wattanasak said the department also requested private hospitals disclose the purchase and sales prices of 200 drugs, medical supplies, medical services and other service charges linked to medical care, as outlined in the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (Ucep) programme. This information must be submitted to the department.

The Ucep programme requires all Thai hospitals to provide compulsory emergency healthcare for up to 72 hours, helping those who need it to receive treatment free, even if it is not the hospital where they are registered to receive welfare coverage.

"We requested private hospitals cooperate by maintaining the prices for medicines, medical supplies, healthcare services and medical fees. The department also asked them to help lower prices during the New Year period as part of year-end discount campaigns offered by the Commerce Ministry," he said.

The public can check drug prices on the department's website for 32,419 items, including those listed under the Ucep programme and the Thai Standardized Drug Code. A code for each pharmaceutical and medical service fee standardises them nationwide so authorities can regulate them to ensure fairness, said Mr Wattanasak.

"There was positive feedback after we published hospital prices on our website, allowing people to compare prices before seeking help," he said.

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