DOH 7 backs Duterte’s order to place price cap on Covid-19 tests, kits

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THE Department of Health (DOH) 7 has supported President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to place a price cap on Covid-19 tests and testing kits.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson on Covid-19 matters, said setting a price cap is a good move as it could encourage individuals to avail themselves of the test, which she described as one of the pillars in the fight against the pandemic.

“Region 7 has been very much proactive even at the outset of the pandemic, and this is evidenced by the 11 licensed and accredited molecular laboratories,” she said.

Loreche said four of the laboratories are run by government facilities while seven others are managed by private firms. Two more laboratories are waiting for the approval of their accreditation papers.

Loreche said the rates, to date, range from P3,409 to P10,000 per test in Central Visayas.

Duterte on Wednesday, Nov. 4, ordered the DOH central office and the Department of Trade and Industry to set a price cap on Covid-19 testing and kits.

The President said compliance with the price range is now one of the requirements for the accreditation and licensing of healthcare facilities and laboratories. Failure to follow the price range, he said, can be a ground for revocation of licenses and accreditation.

Loreche said those who don’t have enough can take their tests for Covid-19 at government-run molecular laboratories and hospitals for free. These are the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) Subnational Laboratory, DOH Cebu TB Reference Laboratory Molecular Facility for Covid-19 Testing and Bayanihan Swabbing Center in Cebu City, and Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital and Bohol Containerized PCR Laboratory in Tagbilaran City.

As of Nov. 4, the VSMMC said a total of 13,055 persons had availed themselves of the drive-through swab tests; and 9,831 for the walk-through tests. The VSMMC had also conducted 2,400 tests for its employees and 17 tests for its dialysis patients/acute renal insufficiency patients.

At the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), the swab fee for arriving international passengers is at P4,900 and the results are available within 24-36 hours, said Edilyth Maribojoc, corporate affairs assistant of GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp.

For departing passengers and other patients who need to take the swab test and opt to have it at the MCIA lab, the testing fee is at 5,000 and the results are available within 24-48 hours.

As of Nov. 4, Maribojoc around 44,000 persons had been tested at the MCIA lab. (WBS)