The joint order covering guidelines on price range to ensure that COVID-19 tests and kits are affordable and accessible is targeted to be released in the coming week after consultations with stakeholders were conducted, the Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday.
“W are already finalizing. Last week po nagkaroon tayo ng consultation with the laboratories, with the manufacturers at saka industry at patients organizations. Inipon natin ang mga komento nila pagkatapos ina-analyze po natin ulit,” Health Undersecretary Mario Rosario Vergeire said during the Laging Handa briefing.
“Nag-final draft tayo at pipirmahan na lang po ni [Trade] Secretary Mon Lopez at [Health] Secretary [Francisco] Duque ang ating Joint Administrative Order para mailabas natin maybe early part of next week,” she said.
Through Executive Order (EO) 118, President Rodrigo Duterte directed the DOH, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), to determine and implement a price range for COVID-19 tests and test kits subject to existing laws, rules and regulations.
The price range shall ensure that the price of COVID-19 testing and test kits is “just, equitable and sensitive to all stakeholders.”
The DOH and DTI will also conduct continuous monitoring and review of the prices and market supply of test kits and other basic medical items and supplies, and implement price controls if necessary, according to the EO.
On the other hand, the President also ordered the DOH to come up with measures to ensure that all accredited COVID-19 laboratories observe transparency in the pricing of tests and in order for the public to be informed about the component costs of medical services and procedures relating to COVID-19.
Medical experts considered the RT-PCR test the gold standard for confirmatory testing because it detects the virus that causes COVID-19.
Both the DOH and the Department of Tourism had pushed for a price cap for COVID-19 tests. -MDM, GMA News