Sri Lanka to slap price controls on dengue blood tests

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will slap price controls on a blood test for dengue and another widely used screening, a health official said as intermittent rains pushed the mosquito borne disease towards epidemic levels.

“From 2020 a fixed price will be named for the full blood count and NS1 (dengue antigen test),” Anura Jayasekera, director dengue prevention unit told reporters.

“After this all private sector hospital should follow these prices.”

Price controls can reduce the quality of a good or service, and reduce the incentives to offer the tests, especially if volumes low. Some may charge higher prices for other tests to recover margins.

An NS1 antigen test is charged 2,350 rupees to 2,400 rupees at two private hospitals in Colombo, and the full blood count about 600 rupees.

Sri Lanka dengue patients soared to 21,561 in November 2019, up from 4,537 last year.

In December 12,300 cases have been recorded with the full total yet to come.

Intermittent rains where there is heavy rain and a breaks have helped push up the mosquito population Jayasekera, said.

Sri Lanka has had a dengue epidemic in 2017, when 41,121 patients were recorded. (Colombo/Dec30/2019)