The Kerala High Court on Monday set aside a state government order capping RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chemical reaction) test rate at Rs 500 in private diagnostic labs in the State. Justice T R Ravi directed the government to hold discussions with the private lab owners and decide on a new rate.
Also, the court cancelled the government decision to register a criminal case against the laboratories which fail to follow the capping order. The court was hearing pleas of several private labs challenging the April 30 order of the government slashing the rate for RT-PCR tests from Rs 1,700 to Rs 500.
On July 8, the court was informed by the government that it had arrived at the figure of Rs 500 as the rate arrived at by Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSC) for RT-PCR tests through static and mobile labs was Rs 448.20 per test.
It had also submitted that the cost of the kits and consumables for the purpose of carrying out the RT-PCR test had come down and that for similar tests the rates charged in States like Haryana, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Odisha were comparable with the price fixed by Kerala government.
The private labs, however, had contended that rates arrived at by the KMSC were not justified as it makes purchases for the State in bulk and, therefore, can get the materials at a price lesser than the institutions which do not procure the same in such large volumes.