ECONOMYNEXT – Coronavirus PCR tests are being done at prices as low as 5,000 in some hospitals while others were doing them at higher prices as much as 9,550, State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna told reporters.
The ministry apparently could not tolerate differential pricing.
Instead of making the prices publicly available allowing customers to go the cheapest place, the ministry wants to place price controls.
“After an analysis done by our officers in 45 hospitals in 21 districts we observed that a Covid PCR tests is being done at a price range of 5000- 9550 rupees while Rapid Antigen Tests are done for 2000- 5900 rupees at different hospitals,” State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna told reporters.
The actual costs of a test may vary due to the country where kits are imported from, the salaries paid, the incentive paid to work overtime, the cost of the machines and the volume of tests.
“But at the moment considering the situation in the country all businesses should work on not charging unnecessary amount and securing that responsibility comes under the Consumer Affairs Authority,” he claimed.
Sri Lanka is now facing shortages of milk powder and cooking gas due to price controls imposed by the Consumer Affairs Authority.
There are fears that the NMRA will also create shortages of essential drugs as the rupee falls amid money printing.
The NMRA also created shortages of masks in the initial stages of the Covid-19 crisis with its price controls.
He said a price control issued in 2020 for Dengue and blood count tests were still in effect.
“When the Dengue disease was spreading Consumer affairs authority issuing a gazette on July 29,2020 introduced a controlled price for the Dengue antigen tests and Blood count test, which are still being done for 1,200 rupees and 400 rupees respectively,”Alagiyawanna said.
Sri Lanka had a severe shortage of testing facilities and the control oriented bureaucrats at Sri Lanka’s National Medical Regulatory Authority in 2020 raided and seized testing kits from private hospitals. (Colombo/Aug11/2021)