Appeals to gov’t to ensure availability, accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 testing kits
Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go appealed to the government to ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 testing kits as demand for it continues to grow amid the ongoing health crisis.
Go emphasized that COVID-19 testing is a requirement for persons taking essential travels, overseas Filipino workers, and employees. Due to this, he said that COVID-19 diagnostic testing has become a fundamental commodity and crucial component in the country’s recovery efforts.
Go signaled an alarm on the increasing disparity on the prices of COVID-19 testing, citing a recent report from the Department of Health which highlighted that a number of facilities impose additional fees to immediately facilitate the processing of the specimen and expedite the validation and release of results. A news report recently featured a person compelled to shell out almost P20,000 for a COVID-19 test whose result may be known within hours only.
Go said there have been a lot of people who opt to be tested in private facilities because of faster turnaround times. However, not everyone can afford this.“Most of those who are highly vulnerable and are exposed to the highest levels of risk come from the poor and marginalized sectors of the society. They need the testing the most,” he added. To address these concerns, the Senator asked the government to determine, formulate and implement a standard and equitable price range for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and test kits.“This is undoubtedly a necessity. It is not a luxury. The government must step in and ensure the said price range is just, equitable and sensitive to all stakeholders,” he added. Furthermore, Go urged the government to institute measures to ensure that all accredited COVID-19 laboratories observe transparency in the pricing of diagnostic testing.