Health expenditure on medicines in Thailand has been increasing substantially. It is estimated that medicine costs account for more than 40% of total health expenditure. This is due to the change in population structure, complicated health conditions and expensive technology. Additionally, arrangements within the medicine system can affect Thailand’s ability to control medicine costs and maintain good health for the Thai population. Such arrangements include management of the overall medicine supply chain, inputs such as human resources, financing provided to the medicine system and, most importantly, policy and regulations on pharmaceutical products at national and international levels.
Access to affordable essential medicines on a sustainable basis is covered in Sustainable Development Goal Target 3.8 to achieve universal health coverage (UHC). Access to medicines can be achieved in a number of ways such as transparent pricing and procurement, increased regulatory capacity, streamlined administrative procedures, support to local manufacturing processes and improvement in rational use of medicines.