Anutin defends taxes on vaccines imported by private hospitals

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health is defending taxes and fees imposed on private hospitals looking to bring in their own coronavirus vaccines.

“These are the normal fees for importing vaccines,” public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said.

“It includes delivery and quality check and other taxes which have to be paid and there is no profit being made out of it,” he said.

Anutin admitted last month that the country is facing a shortage on covid-vaccines. To help supplement the numbers, the government finally allowed the private hospital to bring in “alternative” vaccines to fill in the gap. Only 3 per cent of the population has been vaccinated to date.

However, private hospitals have complained that they are are only allowed to bring in the vaccines through the Government Pharmaceutical Organization and the GPO is charging them the 14 per cent rate.

Dr Boon Vanasin, chairman of the Thonburi Healthcare Group, complained about the rate and said it would push up cost for consumers.

The Thonburi Healthcare Group and other private hospitals are looking to bring in the Moderna vaccine which is expected to be approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration within the next two weeks.

They are also charging 14 per cent for the 10-15 million doses of Pfizer vaccines that the government are bringing in, Boon said.

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