Malacanang has ordered the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Health to implement a price range for COVID-19 tests and impose standards and accreditation of hospitals, laboratories and other health facilities administering the tests following reports of excessively priced tests. Executive Order No. 118 signed by President Duterte took effect today.
“The DOH, in coordination with the DTI, is hereby directed to determine, formulate and implement a price range for COVID-19 testing conducted by hospitals, laboratories and other health establishments and facilities, including the test kits used in the conduct of said tests, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations,” the EO said.
Under the EO, the DOH and the DTI shall ensure that the price range for COVID-19 testing and test kits is just, equitable and sensitive to all stakeholders.
The EO likewise ordered additional requirements for licensing and accreditation of hospitals, laboratories and other health establishments and facilities as COVID-19 testing centers.
The DOH shall release the appropriate issuances directing all hospitals, laboratories and other health establishments and facilities with existing accreditation to operate a COVID-19 diagnostic laboratory, to observe the price range. Failure to comply may be considered a ground for the revocation of existing licenses or accreditation.
One diagnostic center in Manila charges P4,000 for COVID-19 test with results in 48 hours while the 24 hours costs P7,000 and 12 hours P10,000. Patients are also required to pay P100 for a hardy copy of the results.
For transparency, the DOH shall institute measures to ensure that all accredited COVID-19 laboratories observe transparency in the pricing of tests, and ensure that the public is fully informed of the component costs of medical services and procedures relating to COVID-19.
The DOH and DTI shall undertake continuous monitoring and review of the prices and market supply of COVID-19 test kits and other basic medical items and supplies, and issue such price control measures and adjustments as may be necessary.