Shop and compare: Cost of private-hospital services goes public

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Shop and compare: Cost of private-hospital services goes public

Consumers in Thailand will by the end of the month be able to easily compare prices for medical services for the first time.

Wichai Phochanakit, director-general of the Commerce Ministry’s Department of Internal Trade, said private hospitals are now required to submit a list of their medical services and prices and the department will post the information on its website, www.dit.go.th.

“This is a follow-up to the August 2019 measure by which the hospitals revealed the prices they charge for medications to be shared online, and that’s been well received by the public.”

The department will maintain a comparative shopping list for more than 300 services, including beds, rooms, food, blood and urine tests, vasectomies and other surgical operations and consultations with doctors on their rounds.

“Having the prices online will help people choose the right hospital and manage their expenditures better,” Wichai said. “We’ve already found that the fees charged for these services vary greatly from hospital to hospital.”

Listing medicine prices online has been useful in regulating prices nationwide, he said. Before the measure was implemented, drug prices at private hospitals were 300-8,000 per cent higher than the average charges elsewhere.

Most private hospitals had submitted lists of their services, Wichai said, and the terminology used is being verified with the Medical Technology Council to ensure that consumers understand what’s on offer.

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