DOH to 'review' why some COVID-19 tests are 'overpriced' at P8,000

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2020 06:42 PM | Updated as of May 19 2020 07:18 PM

MANILA - Health Secretary Francsico Duque III on Tuesday said the government will "review immediately" why some laboratories are charging about P8,000 for coronavirus tests, double the price of kits from the Philippine Red Cross.

Duque made the commitment after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon pointed out that COVID-19 tests should only amount to P4,000 as kits are usually priced at P2,000 while service and laboratory processing fees are pegged between P2,000 and P3,000.

"I think this is a little overpriced and it causes unnecessary depletion of the resources of PhilHealth," Drilon said, noting that COVID-19 tests are also covered by the state-owned insurance firm.

COVID-19 testing ranges from P2,710 to P8,150 per test depending on whether or not the test kit used is a donated unit, Duque told senators in a hearing streamed online. 

"We will have it reviewed immediately. We will do that by the end of this week," he said.

The DOH will also look into the allegedly slow accreditation of COVID-19 testing centers in provinces, Duque said.

"I would like to apologize that we were not able to give it equal push like NCR (National Capital Region), but that does not mean we are not doing anything about this," he said.

As of last week, there are about 30 licensed COVID-19 testing centers in the Philippines. The government is eyeing to build and accredit about 50 more coronavirus laboratories to be able to test at least 2 percent of the population or 2 million people for COVID-19.