KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — A DAP MP today urged the government to penalise private hospitals that mark up its drug prices by up to 200 per cent from the actual market value.

Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong said that such a profiteering move is unfair to both patients seeking treatments at private hospitals, and insurance companies that process their claims.

He also asked the Health Ministry if it can impose a limit on such price hikes to only 30 per cent.

“Yesterday, I did raise the issue, where it’s said that in private hospitals, they charge medicine prices by marking it up by 100 and 200 per cent.

“The answer given by the ministry is that they marked up the prices by 100 per cent and 200 per cent because they use original drugs. However, the information which I received is that even though it is original drugs that are supplied, they still mark up by 100 to 200 per cent higher than the market price.

“So in this matter, can the government limit that the mark-up to not more than 30 per cent? This is important. It’s not fair to patients or to the insurance companies to foot medicine prices which are higher by 100 and 200 per cent, compared to the market price.

“When they (shops) sell bread with only a five-cent increase in price, they get penalised with a RM30,000 fine. Why then until now, there have been no actions against these private hospitals. I call upon the ministry to enact necessary action,” Khoo said, in his committee stage speech on the Health Ministry, in debating the 2020 Budget.

Last month, Bernama reported Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng as saying that the government is looking at the possibility of having a two-tier pricing system for private hospitals.

He said there should be a cheaper cost for patients and suggested a two-tier pricing system for private hospitals.

He said relevant authorities should have further engagements with the private healthcare industry.