The source said complaints have been received via the 1569 hotline alerting the ministry to the problem.
One caller claimed to have been charged B30,000 to be treated for diarrhoea at a private hospital.
“Other complaints mostly concern overpriced medicines,” the source said.
In response, the ministry set up a fact-finding team to review the costs of medical services and medicines at private hospitals and to determine if they are fair and reasonable.
The source said that in the case where the patient received a B30,000 bill for a diarrhoea diagnosis, the fact-finding team found that the hospital in question added hidden charges to the patient’s final bill, and was found guilty of “over-treating” the patient.
The source said hospital administration officers found guilty of profiteering by marking up the prices of medical services and/or treatments could face jail terms of up to seven years and/or a maximum fine of B140,000 under the Prices of Goods and Services Act.
The Department of Internal Trade (DIT) is also planning to invite 70 private hospitals to explain the reasons why prices of medicines sold at hospital dispensaries could be up to 900% more expensive compared to their recommended retail prices.
Once the prices have been compiled and adjusted, the DIT will publish the prices on its website for public reference.
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