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PCR Test prices REDUCED to R500, is it ENOUGH?

The Competition Commission SA announced on Sunday, December 12 that it has reached a ground-breaking agreement with two major laboratories on the substantial reduction of COVID-19 PCR test prices.

The decision comes after the Commission received a formal complaint in October from the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) against private pathology laboratories alleging that the price for supplying PCR tests for COVID-19 is unfairly inflated, exorbitant and unjustifiable.

The Commission said in a statement that between September and October 2021, the Commission was alerted through a number of meetings and telephonic discussions, including discussions with the Department of Health and healthcare
funders of a possible pricing abuse for COVID-19 PCR tests, to the detriment of vulnerable consumers.

“In the main, it was alleged that private pathology laboratories have experienced substantial cost reductions in conducting COVID-19 PCR tests and were processing significant volumes, yet the price charged by the private pathology laboratories for COVID-19 PCR tests remained persistently high and unchanged at R850,” the statement indicated.

The commission further mentioned that the COVID-19 PCR tests at the two major laboratories, Ampath and Lancet Laboratories has now been reduced from R850 to R500.

The commission’s investigation also showed that supplier prices to the pathology companies had fallen since the start of the pandemic as new and cheaper technology had become available.