On July 25, my daughter saw a general practitioner for a sore throat. She ended up paying $120 for a consultation that lasted no more than 10 minutes and some medicine.
I have no issue with paying $40 consultation fees for experience (the doctor appears to be in his 70s) and the prime location in a mall. However, the medicine was grossly overpriced.
I checked with local pharmacies and compared the prices:
- 30 tablets of Prednisolone (generic), at 50 cents each, for $15.
These were less than 10 cents each at Guardian and 10 cents at Watsons. I showed the medication to the pharmacist to make sure they were the same.
- 120ml Dhasedyl cough syrup (generic in plastic bottle) for $20.
A branded similar cough syrup cost $7 at Watsons.
- Tussils lozenges; a packet of five tablets for $5.
The same packet cost $2.30 at Guardian and a box of 24 tablets was $7 at Watsons.
I called the clinic and was told that those were its charges and that it had not received any complaints.
I called the Consumers Association of Singapore but was told that I needed proof of comparable charges from another clinic.
I acknowledge that doctors have to mark up prices to make a profit. But, in this instance, the overpricing of medicine, especially generic ones, is ridiculous.
If this practice of gross overpricing is not checked, a visit to the GP for a minor ailment will soon be out of the reach of ordinary folk.
This will result in longer queues at government polyclinics whose services are already heavily taxed.
Koo Hay Fong (Ms)