DOH probes lab for alleged overpricing of COVID-19 tests

Published December 14, 2020, 4:24 PM

by Betheena Unite

An accredited testing facility for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is now under investigation for allegedly charging reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests beyond the price range, the Department of Health said Monday.

(JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a virtual press briefing revealed that a testing facility was found non-compliant to the price ceiling set by the department on RT-PCR tests.

“Mero tayong nakitang isang facility for non-compliance. Tayo ay nagpadala na ng letter to explain the things that we do. Hininintay natin ang sagot nila (We were able to monitor a facility for non-compliance. We already sent them a letter to explain the things that we do. We are now waiting for their response),” Vergeire said.

The undersecretary said once the explanation from the facility is obtained, the department will weigh whether or not the establishment would be penalized.

The department, however, did not mention the name of the laboratory found to be violating the price limit.

The department’s Health Facility and Services Regulatory bureau will continue to monitor other COVID-19 testing laboratories, Vergeire said.

Under a Joint Administrative Order, the Health department and Department of Trade and Industry directed private laboratories to charge RT-PCR tests from P4,500 to a maximum of P5,000 while public facilities can charge swab tests for a flat rate of P3,800.

Vergeire also said that another order will be issued to ensure the transparency in the pricing of swab tests in hospitals and other health facilities.

“This will be issued to mandate facilities to post the price list whether in conspicuous areas like tarps, thru leaflets, menu of services or thru website. It should be published or posted for the information of patients,” Vergeire said.  

 
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