Kase: Anti-venoms are paid for by the state

The National Department of Health have confirmed receiving anti-venom for snakebites and that they are free for patients.

The statement by the Secretary of Health, Pascoe Kase comes after recent media reports concerning proposals to charge high fees for snakebite treatments.

Hospital fees are set under the Hospital Charges Regulations and no hospital has the power to set fee.

Hospitals can only recommend fee to the Minister for Health who then seeks approval through the National Executive Council.

Kase said once approved, hospitals must implement the approved scheduled fees.

“The governments free primary health care and subsidised specialist services policy remains in force and in this case, hospitals providing specialist care can charge fees but at a subsidised rate.”

He states that anti-venoms are expensive; paid for by the State and are provided free of charge to patients at present. 

However, hospitals can charge for other specialist care services provided by specialist medical officers.

“The Government has recently received stocks of anti-venoms to treat bites from sea snakes, taipans, and death adders. “

“The Government is also discussing an offer from the Australian-based Commonwealth Serum Laboratories to donate up to 600 free doses of anti-venoms to PNG annually,” Kase adds.

Annette Kora