Private hospitals overcharging: 30-300 percent

More than half the private hospitals operating in Thailand are overcharging for medical services and prescription drugs. Of the private hospitals alleged to be overcharging, the rates have been calculated to be 30% up to 300% over the actual production cost.

The Director General of the Internal Trade Department claims that 295 of the 353 private hospitals have submitted their production costs, and charges for medicines and services to a working group two days ago. 58 hospitals are yet to submit their information to the panel. They were required to do so by April 4 under the 1999 Prices of Goods and Services Act.

The DG says the panel studied the production costs of 10,146 items covering medicines, medical supplies and medical services and compares them with appropriate cost structures available from a variety of sources, including importers, wholesalers, big drugstores, manufacturers, the Office of Insurance Commission, the Thai Life Assurance Association, the Thai General Insurance Association and the Comptroller-General’s department.

The report, once completed, will be submitted to the Central Committee on Prices of Goods and Services, chaired by the commerce ministry, to approve the measures recommended in the report.

Hospitals accused of over-pricing will be asked to lower their charges. Otherwise the department will request patients or affected parties to file complaints about the overcharging with the department so that legal action can be taken.

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