Delhi: Private hospitals, laboratories welcome capping of RT-PCR, RAT prices
(Sourced from PTI)
Private hospitals and laboratories on Wednesday welcomed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's announcement regarding the capping of the rate of conventional RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) for COVID-19 detection in private hospitals and laboratories. However, some lab owners stated that they will now have to explore suppliers who can provide testing kits at a lower cost to sustain margins for the backend workforce.
Welcoming the decision, Dr. Bhagwan Mantri, Senior Consultant, Respiratory and Chest Medicine at Moolchand Hospital said, "RT-PCR tests are required for everything these days - for travel purposes...hospital admissions." "Capping prices will help people in going for tests and they will not be hesitant. It will also prevent people from going in for fake test reports that are available for Rs. 200-300," he said.
The Delhi government on Wednesday put a cap on the rate of conventional RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 in private hospitals and laboratories at Rs. 500. The prices of Rapid Antigen Tests at private facilities have been capped at Rs. 300. In a tweet, Kejriwal said, "The Delhi government drastically reduces corona test rates. This will help the common man (sic)."
Delhi govt drastically reduces corona test rates. This will help the common man. pic.twitter.com/00BJxGddjW— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 4, 2021
Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, said, "Ideally RT-PCR test should be free but this is a good step taken by the Delhi government to cut down the rates for this test." "We are hoping that this step will prove our biggest weapon in the fight against COVID-19," he said.
Chetan Kohli, COO, Genestrings Diagnostics in Malviya Nagar, also welcomed the move and said that subsidized rates will ensure more people can afford RT-PCR tests. However, the price cap may affect the labs' ability to manage costs that entail kits and consumables, as well as manpower and logistics, among others, he said.
"The older price was a fair and affordable price for smaller labs to continue investing further in enhancing their capacity. Hence, this price reduction may hurt the overall need to enhance capacity," Dr. Kohli said. "Now, we may have to explore suppliers who are providing kits at a lower cost to ensure the margins are enough to sustain the backend workforce," he added.