Gatchalian urges DOH, DTI to new price cap on COVID-19 swab testing

Published September 9, 2021, 12:14 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Departments of Health and Trade and Industry should put in place mechanisms that would make sure testing laboratories will comply with the reduced price cap for real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or swab tests, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said on Thursday, Sept. 9.

“This move is timely especially since COVID-19 infections continue to rise in the country due to the more contagious Delta variant and whole families are getting sick,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“If this can be implemented correctly and we are able to maintain the cost of swab tests to a lower price, more people would be encouraged to get a test. That would greatly help improve the government’s COVID-19 response,” the senator added.

Last August 26, the DOH issued Circular No. 2021-0374 on the new price cap that took effect Monday, September 6, 2021. The last price cap was set on November 25, 2020.

Under the new rules, the price cap of RT-PCR tests for private testing hubs has been set from the previous P4,500 to P5,000 to P2,940 to P3,360.

The price cap on public testing facilities, on the other hand, has been set from the previous P3,800 per swab test to P2,450 to P2,800. Home service testing, on the other hand, has been set to P1,000, on top of the testing cost.

Gatchalian said it is imperative for the DOH and DTI to regularly check the testing prices of the licensed COVID-19 testing laboratories on their compliance with the price cap and impose appropriate penalties.

“We should put a stop unscrupulous individuals who are taking advantage of our people who need medical attention due to COVID-19 especially during this pandemic,” he said.

“It’s better to put a halt to these wrong practices especially if it will compromise the lives and safety of the majority of the public,” the lawmaker stressed.