Home South African Pathcare also reduces price of Covid-19 PCR test to R500

Pathcare also reduces price of Covid-19 PCR test to R500

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Pathcare has joined Ampath and Lancet in reducing its price for the Covid-19 PCR test to R500 following a Competition Commission ruling.

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PATHCARE has become the third private laboratory to slash its Covid-19 PCR tests from R850 to R500 (VAT inclusive) with immediate effect.

The Competition Commission confirmed that an agreement with the lab was concluded on Monday.

The test (PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction) detects genetic material from the virus, confirming at the time whether a person has it or not.

Subject to the approval of the Competition Tribunal, the price reduction is expected to remain in effect for a period of two years from the date of confirmation of the consent agreements.

This latest announcement comes shortly after the Competition Commission on Sunday called an urgent media briefing to inform the country of the “groundbreaking agreement” reached with Ampath and Lancet.

In October, the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) laid a complaint against private pathology laboratories, alleging that the price for supplying PCR tests for Covid-19 testing was “unfairly inflated, exorbitant and/or unjustifiable”.

Investigations revealed that labs had been making significant profits – although the amount of profits could not be confirmed – and the public had been bearing the brunt of hefty PCR testing costs.

“The three laboratories also undertook to submit to the commission a compliance report that will include financial statements every three months, to monitor prices charged for PCR tests and any material changes in costs,” said commission spokesperson Siyabulela Makunga in a statement.

During Sunday’s briefing, Competition Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele said that between September and October the commission was alerted through a number of meetings and telephonic discussions – including discussions with the Department of Health and health-care funders – of a possible pricing abuse for Covid-19 PCR tests, to the detriment of vulnerable consumers and customers.

“We call upon all laboratories to comply with this settlement and offer a price of no more than R500, including VAT. We will be monitoring this, and where necessary we will take action. We also expect that the intermediaries, such as medical aid schemes, will pass on these savings to consumers,” he said.

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