The Thai government recently added a few new things to its price control lists, including medicine, medical supplies, medical services and health insurance in Thailand, with the aim of ensuring fairness for both patients and operators of private hospitals, according to the Thai Commerce Minister.
According to the Bangkok Post, Minister SontiratSontijirawong stated that these were added to the product price control list by the government’s central committee on prices of goods and services, while medical services were places on the panel’s service fees control list.
A sub-committee was formed in order to work out the kinks; the measures they’ll be using to control prices, and the like. The sub-committee was formed from representatives from the ministries of commerce and public health, associations for health insurance in Thailand, as well as the Foundation for Consumers, the National Health Security, and the Private Hospital Association.
Mr. Sontirat stated that there has no reply yet as to what measures will be used to control the prices of medicine, medical supplies and medical services, but that aim is to make the prices drop. What measures these will be will depend on the decisions of the sub-committee; in principle, he says that all concerned partiesare treated fairly.
Upon implementation, private medical facilities fired back on the regulation, saying that it poses a threat to the country’s status as a medical hub and denies people alternatives. Claims are also now being made that people buying health insurance are the ones that’ll bear the brunt of the regulation.
Independent Consumer Protection Committee Chief on food, drugs and other health products, says that they’ll be monitoring the government’s next moves closely. She pointed to the government’s prior failure to implement control methods over medicines.
Medicines have been on the controlled list since early 2018, but their prices remain exceptionally high at private hospitals, with rates sitting between 70 to 400 times higher than the prices elsewhere. Supatra was not happy with the explanation, saying that the minister shouldn’t jump quickly to such a conclusion.
She says that other countries in the region have been far more successful with setting a price ceiling for their private hospitals, like Singapore, which set the ceiling at up to 2.5x higher than the rates charged by state hospitals.