The Ministry of Health has issued a new regulation to be put into action 45 days after being posted on the Lao Official Gazelle due to surging prices of medicine and medical products.
During and after the Covid-19 pandemic, Laos saw a huge surge in the price of medicine and medical equipment due to low supply.
This forced the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to set down a fixed price for certain essential medicines and medical equipment, making it affordable for low-income households.
Health Minister Dr. Bounfeng Phoummalaysith issued a decision to regulate the sale of medicinal products, with fines to be issued to businesses that have already violated the rules twice.
Businesses that stop, refuse, or extend the time to supply medication and medical equipment without justifiable cause will be fined between LAK 1-3 million for third and subsequent infringements of the Decision, the Vientiane Times reports.
Businesses that charge more than the authorized prices for medicinal products will be fined anywhere from KIP 1 million to KIP 5 million.
Businesses that fail to declare their prices, hold the supply of medicinal products or equipment, and give false prices will be fined anywhere from KIP 1 million to KIP 3 million, per infringement.
Pharmacies that sell medical products or equipment without clearly stating the price will be fined between KIP 500,000 and KIP 1 million.
Businesses that don’t follow regulations not only face fines, but also the possibility of a criminal or civil lawsuit.
The new regulation which was posted on the Lao Official Gazelle on 21 December 2022, has since passed the probationary 45-day period and has been put into action in February 2023.
The Decision lays out the principles, mechanisms, and regulations governing the prices of medications and medical items distributed in Laos, ensuring that they are accessible to the general public and offered at fair prices. According to the government, this ruling will protect the rights and interests of all parties involved.