Palace: Price cap on COVID-19 tests likely
People take swab test at Philippine Red Cross in Mandaluyong on September 24, 2020.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
Palace: Price cap on COVID-19 tests likely
(Philstar.com) - October 29, 2020 - 4:07pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will likely grant the request of the Department of Health to impose a price cap on coronavirus tests in hospitals and laboratories, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the proposed order on price ceiling on COVID-19 tests is awaiting the president’s signature following the review of the DOH and the Office of the Executive Secretary.

“From all indications, it seems there will be a price cap. Why is that? Some are asking for excessively high fees when we know tests can be cheaper,” Roque said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Last month, the DOH recommended the issuance of an executive order to reconcile the varying prices of coronavirus tests, which can go as high as P12,000.

While there is an existing law that mandates a price ceiling for medicines, it does not cover the cost of diagnostic tests.

The Department of Tourism also sought for a price cap on reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and antigen tests “to promote domestic tourism, which in turn can generate employment and stimulate economic recovery.” A negative test result is required as part of the agency’s “test before travel” policy.

Currently, there are 153 licensed testing laboratories in the Philippines. Some 4.68 million people have been so far tested for coronavirus in the country.

Over 375,000 people have had COVID-19 in the Philippines. Of the figure, 329,111 have recovered, while 7,114 have died.

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