MALAYSIA - Recently, there have articles by both doctors and non-medical personnel regarding the regulating of medical fees.
It is true that doctors are among the highest income group. That is why many top students embark on this career even though it involves a lot of study and very high tuition fees.
It is also true that fees charged by general practitioners at independent clinics are reasonable, and this is not an issue.
However, their fees still need to be regulated.
Perhaps, the schedule on consultation fees needs to be reviewed regularly.
Private hospitals today have become "business" concerns. Some are listed on the stock exchange, and thus are profit-oriented.
While the first charge of consultation fees by the specialist is not a point of contention, it is other subtle charges like ward visits that are exorbitant.
Besides, there will be a long list of other charges. The list of miscellaneous charges is getting creatively long and frightening!
Then the patient has to go through various other tests for which charges are very high.
Normally, the patient does not question the procedures until the rude shock he gets upon discharge from the hospital.
Further, the patient has to do follow-up visits, and perhaps further tests. More fees and charges again.
Upon discharging, the patient sometimes is given medication that has to be taken for months.
The prices of drugs are well above those sold at pharmaceutical outlets.
The separation of dispensing medication between doctors and pharmacists has been talked about for many years.
It is time for the government to implement it so that the patient has the option to purchase the drugs outside with the specialist's prescription.