Internal Trade Department plans “Blue Flag” hospital chain

The Internal Trade Department is considering recruiting private hospitals, which are known for not overcharging their patients, to form a chain of “Blue Flag” hospitals to provide medical services at reasonable prices.

The department’s director-general, Mr. Vichai Pochanakit, said today that there are some 100 private hospitals which are known for their reasonable charges, adding that they are to be approached to join the “Blue Flag” hospital project.

He believes that the project can be implemented once the Internal Trade Department has received the price lists of drugs, medical equipment and services from all the private hospitals, which they have until July 12th to submit.

Mr. Vichai said that the department will keep the information on about 3,999 items of drugs as QR codes, so that members of the public can readily access the information.

Private hospitals are now legally required to issue prescriptions to patients, whether they ask for them or not, and these prescriptions will enable patients to purchase medicines from any drug store.

In mid-July, the Internal Trade Department will meet with representatives of about 70 private hospitals which are known to overcharge their patients.

Mr. Vichai said that some cancer medicines, which cost about 140,000 baht, were being charged out at as much as 400,000 baht by some hospitals, adding that executives of any hospital who cannot explain the reason for overcharging may face seven years in prison and/or a fine of 140,000 baht.


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