Accredited labs allowed to charge below price range set by gov’t for RT-PCR test

Published February 5, 2021, 5:10 PM

by Analou de Vera

All accredited COVID-19 laboratories nationwide may charge patients below the price range set by the government for the COVID-19 real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.


The Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) made the clarification amid “arising issues that some laboratories are hesitant to lower their prices below the stated reference price.”

“The DOH and the DTI clarify that private and public laboratories may charge patients for COVID-19 testing at a price lower than the reference price indicated in DOH Circular No. 2020-0391. Both agencies stress that this is allowed, provided that the quality of service is maintained,” the agencies said in a joint statement on Friday, Feb 5.

On Nov. 24, 2020, the government imposed a price cap for COVID-19 RT-PCR tests, which is considered the gold standard in detecting the coronavirus.

Both agencies assured that no sanctions will be imposed on those who wish to lower their prices.

“However, those who will overcharge above the maximum price cap of P5,000 for private laboratories and P3,800 for public laboratories will be penalized,” the statement read.

The DOH and DTI noted that the “amounts indicated as price caps are subject to periodic review and may change depending on prevalent economic factors.”

“Filipinos should be protected from undue financial risks when availing of the RT-PCR testing, which is an essential service in this time of public health emergency. Hence, we will continue to monitor, evaluate, and enforce these prices to ensure that COVID-19 testing remains affordable and of quality,” the statement read.