Controlling Measures of Health Facility Business Advertisement VS. Section 77 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2560 (2017)
Keywords:health facility business advertisement, freedom of advertising, occupational barrier, free and fair economic competition, consumer protection
According to Health Facility Act, B.E. 2541 (1998) and Amendment, B.E. 2559 (2016) which are intended to protect consumers of the health service system, measures are imposed that any private health facility business operator or any person who desires to advertise its health facility business must apply for a permission and be charged for expenses. A committee system is set to scrutinize advertisements and propose the licenser for making a mandate in accordance with the application. This leads to an occupational barrier for health facility business operation under the free and fair economic competition. Throughout the time, it has been proved that such permission system under the law cannot respond promptly to a huge number of applications for advertising approval. Moreover, health facility business operators often change their ad contents due to the changes of market trends, making the advertising approvals be executed sluggishly and cannot respond to the needs promptly. Furthermore, the permission system is subject to processes and time, which limitedly existing personnel cannot handle with it punctually. Also, a lot of resources and budgets are spent unworthily and ineffectively since many unlawful health facility advertisements remain.
Regarding Section 77 of Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2560 (2017), the government is prescribed to enforce the law as much as necessary and abolish and amend the law which is obstructive to livelihood and occupation. The adoption of permission system and committee system is subject to particularly necessary cases. The imposition of a criminal penalty is made particularly in case of severe offences. In addition, when a law is effective, the government should provide assessments for the effectiveness of the law in order to develop the law to be consistent with and appropriate to the contexts changed. However, Health Facility Act, B.E. 2541 (1998) amended regarding health facility business advertisements is not corresponded to the Section 77. An amendment should be made to Health Facility Act, B.E. 2541 (1998) and subordinate legislations regarding health facility business advertisements for the effectiveness of the enforcement of the law in protecting consumers of the health service system and promoting a free and fair economic competition.