KATHMANDU, Sept 30: The Ministry of Health and Population has issued a 24-hour ultimatum to eight private laboratories in the Kathmandu Valley to adjust the charge of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The ministry also warned that it would scrap permission given to them if they failed to abide by the government’s directive within the stipulated deadline.
As per the government decision, private labs and hospitals can charge maximum Rs 2,000 for conducting PCR test for COVID-19. Star Hospital, HAMS Hospital, B and B Hospital, Nepal Mediciti Hospital, Decode Genomics and Research Center, Sooriya Healthcare, and Intrepid Diagnostic Center are found to have been charging as much as Rs 3,899 for conducting PCR test for the COVID-19.
Earlier, the Incident Command System of the health ministry had concluded that these labs were charging higher fees despite its instruction to conduct PCR tests at the rate determined by the government. “If these labs failed to abide by the government’s directive, the National Public Health Laboratory would scrap the permission given to them to conduct the PCR tests for COVID-19,” Spokesperson Gautam said.
The government had decided to lower the cost of PCR test to Rs 2,000 from 4,400 two weeks ago.
This was the second time the ministry slashed the cost of PCR test. Earlier on August 30, the government had decided to reduce the cost of PCR test by 1,100. Initially, the ministry had set the rate of PCR test as 5,500. However, following criticism, the government lowered the cost of PCR test to 4,400 from 5,500.