2 doctorsâ groups back price cap on swab test
The Philippine College of Physicians and Philippine Society of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases underscored the need to regulate the prices of swab tests to strengthen the country’s battle against the pandemic.
Walter Bollozos, file
2 doctors’ groups back price cap on swab test
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - September 23, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Two groups of doctors yesterday backed the move of the Department of Health (DOH) to impose a ceiling on the prices of real time polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR confirmatory test for COVID-19.

The Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) and Philippine Society of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) underscored the need to regulate the prices of swab tests to strengthen the country’s battle against the pandemic.

“I think that’s one area that we have neglected in terms of regulating the prices of COVID-19 tests. It’s variable, especially in the private setting,” PSMID president Marissa Alejandria said.

She said the cost of testing is included in the “parameters” of COVID-19 response because it determines the affordability and accessibility of tests.

Alejandria maintained that since some COVID-19 tests are reimbursable with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) although with a cap, it is important for the prices to be regulated.

PCP vice president Maricar Limpin said there are testing laboratories that charge up to P10,000 in exchange for fast swab test results.

“They can do it faster but they want the patients to pay more before they do it. This is not good practice because it shows distinction between the rich and the poor. There must be equity in the health system,” Limpin said.

She said swab test results should be released faster so that an infected patient could take appropriate health protocols such as undergoing quarantine.

The medical groups said government authorities should also initiate massive contact tracing to prevent the spread of the virus.

On Monday, the DOH proposed to Malacañang the issuance of an executive order to implement a price cap for COVID swab tests.

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