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Gov't lowers price cap for RT-PCR tests

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Gov't lowers price cap for RT-PCR tests
A resident of Brgy. San Miguel in Taguig City undergoes swabbing for coronavirus testing on April 23, 2020.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — The government reduced the price cap for real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests in a bid to make coronavirus testing more affordable and accessible to Filipinos.

Below is the new price cap for RT-PCR testing based on Department of Health Circular 2021-0374:

  • Public laboratories: P2,800 for plate-based, P2,450 for GeneXpert
  • Private laboratories: P3,360 for plate-based, P2,940 for GeneXpert

For swab specimen collections at homes, the government also set a price cap of P1,000 on top of testing costs.

The new price cap for RT-PCR testing will take effect on September 6.

According to the circular released on Tuesday, laboratories, health facilities and testing centers may have process lower than the prescribed price cap for RT-PCR testing and home service fee. However, no manufacturer, distributor or testing facility should exceed the price cap.

The DOH said that discounts for senior citizens and persons with disabilities are applicable to the total amount of the services rendered.

Prior to this, private laboratories and hospitals can charge from P4,500 to P5,000 for RT-PCR testing. Meanwhile, government facilities are only allowed to charge P3,800 for an RT-PCR test.

Groups have been calling on the government to slash the cost of COVID-19 testing to make it more affordable and accessible to ordinary Filipinos. 

Currently, there are 211 plate-based testing hubs and 68 GeneXpert labs. 

At least 18.78 million samples have been tested for coronavirus since the pandemic began. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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