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RT-PCR Test of Private Hospitals Under Probe Due to Overpriced

The Malacañang Palace has ordered a probe against the overpriced RT-PCR test or swab test of private hospitals and laboratories.

The government will re-evaluate the cost of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for COVID-19, which remains exorbitant. This comes after a revelation that certain private hospitals are purportedly conducting business with the RT-PCR test notwithstanding the price restriction imposed by the Departments of Health (DOH) and Trade and Industry (DTI).

Overpriced RT-PCR Test
Image Source: Philstar

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Acting Presidential Spokesman Karlo Nograles stated that because the technology currently uses the COVID-19 analysis, he should consider assessing the cost or charging for it. Despite the government’s price restriction, some hospitals and laboratories are still asking between P3,500 and P5,000, according to the study.

According to Nograles, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) has replied to RT-PCR testing of hospitalized patients suspected of having COVID-19, therefore there is no reason to be concerned. PhilHealth covers all recipients’ COVID-19 exams.

The only people who pay for RT-PCR testing are those who want to know for sure whether or not they have been infected with the virus. Those people, he claims, pay exorbitant costs to laboratories and hospitals for a single test.

“Covered naman ng PhilHealth ‘no iyong RT-PCR if you’re in the hospital obviously, and then you get swabbed then that’s covered by PhilHealth. Ang hindi covered is if you take an RT-PCR on your own which some of us need to do ‘no for our protection, safety and also for [unclear] especially if you have symptoms. But if you’re in the hospital and then we have to get swabbed, that’s covered naman by PhilHealth,” Nograles added.

Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte issued an Executive Order instructing the Departments of Trade and Industry and the Department of Health to adopt a price ceiling for PCR testing. Those who are found to be exploiters and charge excessively for RT-PCR testing will have their licenses revoked and will be penalized heavily.

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