Thu. Dec 3rd, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 118 which mandated the Department of Health, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry, to study and implement a reasonable price cap on the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing as well as that of the test kits for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

President Duterte said that he recognizes that there is a need for the state to make sure that such tests are accessible to the general public.

He said that they should be made available for the low- and middle-income households.

President Duterte said that there should be “equitable access” to quality and affordable healthcare services.

“The DOH, in coordination with the DTI, is hereby directed to determine, formulate, and implement a price range for Covid-19 testing conducted by hospitals, laboratories, and other health establishments and facilities, included the test kits used in the conduct of said tests, subject to existing laws, rules, and regulations,” the EO read.

The EO also said that the price range for Covid-19 testing and test kits should be “just, equitable, and sensitive to all stakeholders.”

“The DOH shall release the appropriate issuances directing all hospitals, laboratories, and other health establishments, and facilities with existing accreditation to operate a Covid-19 diagnostic laboratory, to observe the aforesaid price range. Failure to comply therewith may be considered as a ground for the revocation of existing licenses or accreditation,” the EO read.

The DOH, under the signed EO of the president, should institute means to make sure that all accredited Covid-19 laboratories observe transparency in the pricing of tests.

This, according to President Duterte, would ensure that the public is fully informed of the component costs of medical services and procedures relating to Covid-19.

Both the DOH and DTI are tasked to monitor and review the price and market supply of Covid-19 test kits and other basic medical items and supplies.

EO 118 takes effect immediately upon publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation.

Many public hospitals as well as healthcare facilities offer Covid-19 testing that range from P1,750 to P2,000. PNA

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