Palace appeals to labs to bring down pricing of COVID-19 testing pending executive order

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) — Malacanang is asking testing facilities to charge less for coronavirus testing amid calls for the regulation of prices of COVID-19 swab tests.

"Napakadaming laboratories, gobyerno po ang nag-donate o kaya pribadong sektor ang nag-donate ng makina at mga test kits. Ibaba niyo po ang mga presyo," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a virtual briefing.

[Translation: There are a lot of laboratories who received donations of (RT-PCR) machines and test kits either from government or the private sector. Please lower your (swab test) charges.]

The official also presented a list of testing centers who offer cheaper swab tests following the said donations, with test prices ranging from ₱1,750 to ₱2,000. These are:

- Philippine Children's Medical Center

- Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital

- Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital

- Perpetual Help Medical Center - Las Piñas

- National Kidney and Transplant Institute

- Lung Center of the Philippines

- Western Visayas Medical Center - Iloilo

- Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical City - Cebu

- University of Cebu Medical Center - Cebu

- Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center - Tacloban, Leyte

- Baguio General Hospital

- Zamboanga City Medical Center

- St. Paul's Hospital - Tacloban, Leyte

- Teresita Jalandoni Provincial General Hospital - Negros Occidental

- Cebu Molecular Laboratory

These facilities are equipped to conduct either individual or pooled testing, with results out within 48 hours.

Roque mentioned pooled testing is already on pilot, adding the costs of swab tests will go down to as low as ₱550 to ₱1,000 following its wide-scale implementation.

The Health Department has called on President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an executive order mandating a price ceiling on swab tests in private hospitals and laboratories.