With the testing kit production cost falling after Maharashtra eased lockdown norms, the state government on Monday further reduced the rates for RT-PCR COVID-19 tests conducted by private laboratories. According to the governments decision, the charges for picking test samples from collection sites have been reduced to Rs 1,200 from Rs 1,900 (which was fixed last month).
Collecting samples from kiosks, COVID-19 care collection centres, hospitals, clinics, quarantine centres of laboratories will now cost Rs 1,600 as against Rs 2,200 earlier. The fees for collecting patient samples from his/her residence, their transport, testing and reporting of samples has been slashed to Rs 2,000 from Rs 2,500, the government said.
The government said the revised charges are inclusive of all taxes. The government took the step after a committee set up by it to decide the rates charged by private laboratories submitted its report.
Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) is a laboratory technique widely used in the diagnosis of genetic diseases and to measure gene expression in research. No private laboratory can charge patients beyond these rates, the government clarified.
The government said industries have resumed operations under its Mission Begin Again initiative in the state andthe VTM and PPE kits, N95 masks and RNA extraction kit are available at reasonable rates now. Plus, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)has permitted several new companies producing these medicines/equipment, leading to their availability, resulting in fall of the costs.
The number of laboratories approved by the ICMR and the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) has also gone up. Considering all these factors, the RT-PCR test charges were required to go down, the government said.