Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce has implemented a new law after announcing medicine and medical supplies as controlled items, requiring hospitals to display pricings of more than 3,000 items via QR codes allowing the general public to make comparisons. Failure to comply with this law will result in up to 1 year imprisonment or up to 20,000 baht fine.
Ms. Chutima Bunyapraphasara, the Deputy Minister for Commerce, 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 amendments or changes to pricing must be informed 15 days in advance in writing by parties involved.This measure will cover 3,090 medical, mainly common and necessary drugs.
Hospitals are also required to disclose pricing details in QR code form, or via signages, allowing the general public to access the information conveniently. Patients are to be allowed to purchase medicine outside the hospital but must have a prescription signed by a doctor, with the common and scientific name of medicine, and pricing clearly displayed.
Responsible persons or entities 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 new rules, and will consider further measures to control medicine ,medical services and medical procedure pricings in the future.