BANGKOK, 11 MAY 2019(NNT)- The Ministry of Commerce has implemented a new measure after announcing medicine and medical supplies as controlled items, requiring hospitals to display pricing of some 3,000 items via QR codes allowing the general public to make comparisons. Failure to comply will result in up to 1 year imprisonment or up to 20,000 baht fine.
The Deputy Minister of Commerce Chutima Bunyapraphasara revealed that the central committee on pricing of goods and services’ meeting has agreed to authorize the Department of Internal Trade to implement control measures for pricing of medicine, medical supplies and medical services. The measure will require private hospitals, manufacturers, importers and wholesalers to report sales prices to the department, which will then later be published on the department’s website. Any changes to pricing must be informed 15 days in advance. This measure will cover 3,090 medical, mainly common and necessary drugs.
Hospitals are also required to disclose pricing details in QR code form, allowing the general public to access the information conveniently. Patients who wish to purchase medicine outside the hospital must have a prescription signed by a doctor, with the common and scientific name of medicine, and pricing clearly displayed.
Responsible persons failing to disclose the pricing will face 1 year imprisonment, or up to 20,000 baht fine, or both. Private hospitals, which refuse to issue prescriptions to patients for medicine purchases outside the hospital, will face up to 5 years imprisonment, up to 100,000 baht fine, or both. The new regulation will soon be announced in the royal gazette, and is expected to go in effect from next week.
The Department of Internal Trade will be inviting representatives from hospitals to explain the measure, and will consider further measures to control medicine and medical service pricing in the future.