Patient claims Changi General Hospital charges $30 for injection that only costs $4 online

Mr Ray's scalp condition (PHOTO: Mr Ray)

Mr Ray, 65, underwent a treatment for lingering red rashes on his scalp at Changi General Hospital (CGH) in July. He has been particularly unsatisfied with the charges applied for the drug injected.

During the treatment session, he discovered the very product that he was injected with was being sold online at US$3.98 (about S$5.39) per injection – the hospital, however, charged him S$210 for seven jabs on his scalp. However, upon being contacted, CGH denied the allegation.

Price listing of the drug online

In an email to The Independent, the 65-year-old stated that he was curious about the drug that was handed to him by the nurse before the procedures. He conducted a quick search online of “Abotte Triamcinolone at 40mg/ml,” according to what was listed on the bottle’s label.

To his surprise, an identical product was listed at US$3.98 per injection, and US$19.65 for 6 injections.

Mr Ray wrote that a bottle “could easily dispense 15 shots” and that the CGH nurse simply discarded the remaining drug, after the prescribed seven injections, due to contamination concerns.

He wrote:

“Each injection on the spot took less than 4 seconds and the whole procedure was over in less than 30 seconds. I was billed $210 @ $30 per shot. A 40ml bottle of original Abbott, same as the one used by CGH, injection costs only USD 3.98 and could easily dispense 15 shots. Why our public hospitals resort to such unscrupulous profiteering?”
Medical invoice issued by CGH to Mr Ray

According to Mr Ray, he no longer wants to go through the hassles of clarification with CGH as his past experience with hospitals and polyclinics have been largely “unsatisfactory”.

According to Mr Ray, his condition of red rashes across his scalp have been lingering for over ten years, without noticeable improvements, despite countless treatments at CGH.

In order to verify with CGH, The Independent contacted them through an email since last Thursday. After providing several contacts who were unable to assist with the case, Cherry Lui, assistant manager of corporate affairs phoned and asserted that the drug injected was not identical to what patient claimed to be. Ms Lui also indicated on Tuesday (17 Oct) that a medical proof will be sent in soon. However, there has not been a further update received yet.

Mr Ray then commented on Tuesday, after learning the response from CGH, “the drug triamcinolone comes in various brands and the cost shouldn’t be this far off.”

He also jokingly remarked that, “they may come back to you in 5 years later, haha.”

This article has been edited since it was first published after verifying the facts with CGH. 



    • The needle costs less than $2 in CGH Pharmacy but the nurse who did the injection which was done in less than 30 secs cost $100 per hour. The product online is the same as the one the hospital used. CGH denied but unable to provide details when challenged.

    • Needle is sold at any pharmacy less than $2 and anyone one can do it just like those diabetics who do it themselves at home. In this instance the nurse is doing it at $100 per hour. the whole process took less than 30 secs. The product is the same as the one used by CGH.

  1. Aiyo by the poster’s reasoning , then all GP that dispense medicine to their patient are also profiteering, you may wonder why is that so ?
    Well, eg. A box of statin 30tabs if bought at say pharmacy in Vietnam cost S25.00 but at GP clinic in Sg. of same drug mfg. and type can cost S85.00 ?
    So is that profiteering ?
    Now say a car of same type and model in Sg cost 5X more than in US , so is that profiteering ??
    Cost of paying SG gov. to run a red dot country is 300X more than the cost of paying US Gov. to run a super power country ….perhaps that should answer the question of the poster of this article …..

    • Well it depends on how you look at it. A GP is a private entity whereas a public hospital is to serve the people especially the poor hence the subsidy. If you take a good look at the bill, the public hospital consultation costs is $80 before subsidy whereas a GP costs average $30 in most cases. If a government depends on public hospitals to get their salaries, good luck to Singapore.

  2. Actually the subsidy of $153 already built into the cost. This is one way to make the Government looks very generous by subsidising your hospital bills. It reminds of Great Singapore Sale. Many of the shops give 50 to 75% discount by inflating/marking up the price by the same amount. WE get conned by Government, merchants and everyone else.

    • Don’t be so angry. The old man did not ask for cost price. He is exposing how our public hospital capitalized on the sick and poor. He seeks clarification why a $4 injection was bill $210 on top of the high consultation fee.

  3. I was in Australia and an abscesses, pus, developed. It grew too big and I needed to drain it. The local hospital charged me AUD70, inclusive of dressing change the next day and dressing kit to change dressing for the next 3 days. Me and companions all agree that it will not be cheaper in Sg

  4. The subject heading of this article is wrong. Changi Hospital billed the patient $210 for one injection bottle. The same bottle was used to inject 7 spots @ $30 each on top of the $80 consultation fee. The purpose of this article is to highlight the unscrupulous profiteering by the hospital on the sick. Whether the patient should have bought online and do himself is irrelevant. Do note the mark up before subsidizing.