PH Red Cross lowers fees for COVID-19 tests

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, Nov. 29, 2020) — The Philippine Red Cross said it would lower the fees for COVID-19 tests so that more people could get tested for the virus.

PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon said during a radio show on Sunday that they were able to make a deal with China to purchase the test kits for a lower price.

Tests subsidized by PhilHealth would now cost ₱3,409 each while private individuals would be charged ₱3,800.

Gordon added they would try to even lower the cost so that more people could avail of the tests.

The announcement comes after the government set a price cap for RT-PCR (real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests for COVID-19 in the country following complaints of exorbitant rates being charged to clients.

On Nov. 25, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the cost for the tests in private hospitals and laboratories should range from ₱4,500 to ₱5,000. Public facilities are only allowed to charge ₱3,800 for a swab test.

The Health and Trade departments signed a joint administrative order setting the price band on Nov. 24 following an executive order from President Rodrigo Duterte. Duque said the price range was crafted after a thorough market survey, adding that it is subject to change during monthly reviews.