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Equitable Prices of Single-Source Drugs in Thailand

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In Thailand, total drug expenditure has grown rapidly. Recently, the Thai government has addressed the issue of drug pricing, but the prices of single-source drugs remain a major challenge.


To examine equitable prices of single-source drugs in Thailand.


A total of 98 single-source and high-expenditure drugs were examined. Unit prices from the Drug and Medical Supplies Information Center (DMSIC) and National Average Drug Acquisition Cost (NADAC) were used to represent drug prices at the provider level in Thailand and the US, respectively. Data for measuring drug affordability, eg, dose and poverty line, were obtained from Micromedex® online and the National Statistical Office (NSO). The US drug prices were adjusted by the Human Development Index (HDI) to be equitable prices for Thailand. Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) was used to convert US currency into Thai baht. All prices in this study were based on the year 2012. Catastrophic, Impoverishment, and WHO/Health Action International (HAI) approaches were used to determine Thai citizens’ ability to afford the study drugs. Finally, uncertainty analyses were conducted.


From all study drugs, 55 single-source drugs were priced higher than their equitable prices, ranging from 0.38 to 422.36 % higher. Among these, 28 items were antineoplastic drugs. The prices of drugs outside the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), as well as the country’s newer drugs, tended to be higher than their calculated equitable prices. The majority of drugs in Thailand priced higher than equitable prices were unaffordable for most Thai citizens. The uncertainty analyses revealed that almost all results were relatively robust.


Most single-source drug prices in Thailand were higher than their equitable prices, and were likely to be unaffordable to Thai citizens.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge Health Insurance System Research Office (HISRO) and Faculty of Pharmaceutical sciences, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand. Any errors are entirely the responsibility of the authors. All authors, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Surachat Ngorsuraches and Ms. Kanokkan Chaiyakan, declare no conflicts of interest.

Author contributions

All authors contributed equally. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Surachat Ngorsuraches designed the research plan, organized the whole study, interpreted data, as well as editing and revising the manuscript. Ms. Kanokkan Chaiyakan participated in literature search, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, writing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Kanokkan Chaiyakan.

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Ngorsuraches, S., Chaiyakan, K. Equitable Prices of Single-Source Drugs in Thailand. Appl Health Econ Health Policy 13, 389–397 (2015).

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