Rs 950 RT-PCR cap: Hospital body to write to govt for help
Times of India, 05 December 2020
Kolkata: A day after the charge for RT-PCR tests was capped at Rs 950, the Association of Hospitals of Eastern India (AHEI) decided to write to the state government seeking help to procure re-agents at a lower price which will allow them to keep testing viable at the reduced rate. It will ask the government to help private hospitals negotiate with vendors who supply re-agents for RT-PCR to state hospitals at cheaper rates, according to AHEI president Rupak Barua.
This is the third time since June that the RT-PCR ceiling has been revised. While initially the cost of an RT-PCR test was Rs 4,500, it was capped for the first time on June 26 at Rs 2,250. Later, on September 28, a cap of Rs 1,201 was announced but it was withdrawn within hours. On October 12, the cap was revised to Rs 1,500.
“We will write to the state this week to help us get in touch with their vendors. Unless we can procure re-agents at a cheaper price, it will be difficult for most private establishments to continue RT-PCR tests,” said Barua, who is also the CEO of AMRI Hospitals. He added that the re-agent cost for a test at AMRI is Rs 650.
The price of rapid tests TRUNAT and CBNAAT have been capped at Rs 1,200 and Rs 2,400, respectively.
Some hospitals said the re-agents are procured at variable rates from vendors. This has made it possible for some to bring down the charge while others were still finding it difficult. “Our re-agent procurement cost has been reduced to almost a third of what it was in June. So, the new ceiling is not a constraint for us, provided the number of tests don’t slide,” said Peerless Hospital CEO Sudipta Mitra.