More than 200 non-subsidised medicines on the Hospital Authority's standard drug list will become available at median market prices at selected hospitals later this year. At least seven of the authority's hospitals will take part during the first phase of the scheme and more might join in the second next year, director for cluster services Allen Cheung Wai-lun said yesterday. But there were no plans to include all the more than 40 hospitals managed by the authority, he added. At least one hospital from each of the city's seven clusters will join the first phase. The prices of the drugs would be set at median levels of their market prices, which sometimes varied drastically, Dr Cheung said. For example, the same brand of medicine could sell for between HK$450 and HK$700 for 100 pills. A research company will be commissioned to find the street prices. More than 1,200 drugs on the authority's Standard Drug Formulary, launched in July 2005, are provided at HK$10 per item for a six-month prescription. Patients have to pay in full for about 220 expensive drugs not on the list. 'We will neither set the prices too high nor too low, which may bring unfair competition to the market,' Dr Cheung said. Three principles would be followed: assuring medicine quality, convenience to the public and reasonable prices. The drug prices would be listed online and in various publications. Meanwhile, Dr Cheung defended the authority's refusal to provide chemotherapy drugs free to an authority doctor who has been under treatment for his colon cancer and paying HK$40,000 a month for the drugs. Dr Cheung said he had no knowledge of reports saying some departments in the authority used their budget to buy drugs for sick staff.