HCMC hospital faces patients’ ire for price gouging on drugs

Patients register to see doctors at HCMC’s People’s Hospital 115. Many complain that they are forced to buy from the hospital’s pharmacies at very high prices despite having medical insurance which entitles them to free medicines (Photo: SGGP)

Patients at the Ho Chi Minh City–based People’s Hospital 115 have complained that it sells drugs at up to eight times the market price but hospital officials have denied this.

For instance, the patients said Cadimezol 20mg, prescribed for stomachaches, costs VND350 at drugstores but the hospital pharmacy sells it at VND3,450.

The officials rejected the accusation saying the hospital’s pharmacies do not even have Cadimezol in stock.

But the Ministry of Health has instructed that hospital directors must ensure storage of all drugs required to treat inpatients.

Another complaint by patients is that though people with medical insurance are entitled to get drugs free of cost, the hospital authorities force them to buy from pharmacies.

Phan Van Bau, the hospital’s director, has asked the city’s Department of Health to investigate the charge to clarify the matter.

By Tuong Lam - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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