Private doctors charge high price for hepatitis B vaccine

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 September, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 September, 1999, 12:00am

Private doctors have been accused of turn ing preventive medicine into a luxury by charging a high price for the hepatitis B vaccine. A local vaccines agent revealed that he had received calls from private doc tors complaining that the company was of fering discounts to students and teachers.

A senior pharmaceutical executive said doctors had been exploiting patients with a huge mark-up for the hepatitis B vaccine. The wholesale price for the vaccine dropped to only $80 a shot earlier this year. But some private practitioners were still charging patients more than $200 each.

It meant patients had to pay more than $600 for a three-shot course and some were paying more than $1,000. The executive said that private doctors had been 'monopolising' the preventive medicine market because the Government only pro vided free hepatitis B vaccination to new born babies.

Medical Association vice-president Lo Wing-lok said charges for the vaccine cov ered services and overhead costs. 'All busi ness operations have to survive . . . Private doctors should not subsidise the public.'