The health and trade departments set the Covid19 swab test rate at P5,000, a rate much higher than what is offered by some laboratories.
The order was signed on Tuesday, November 24 and would take effect once it was published in the newspapers.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque justified the price saying that it is based on market study and survey that has covered all testing inputs including kits, transport medium and overhead costs.
He cited accredited private laboratories to charge patients only between laboratories can only charge patients between P4,500 and P5,000, while the limit for public laboratories is P3,800.
“With this joint administrative order, the government seeks to strike a balance of equity, access and consumers’ choice. In determining the price range, we strived to ensure that they are just, equitable and sensitive to all,” Duque said.
The floor price set for private laboratories is higher than the current rate some laboratories charge for the standard RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) test like St. Luke’s Medical Center charges P4,300 for each test, while the Philippine Red Cross rate is at P4,000.
Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) can pay government laboratories up to P3,409 if all the services for testing were procured and provided by the laboratory.
Duque said that they will have to keep their current pricing level not to jack up the price because the government has this price range and whatever is the level of their testing fees should be maintained so they will not be penalized and ultimately cancel their licenses.