Guv asks DOH to regulate cost of swab test for COVID-19

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO- Pampanga Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda has appealed to the Department of Health (DOH) to regulate the costs of swab tests in public and private hospitals in the country.

The governor suggested that the DOH should set a price ceiling on swab tests using the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) technique, which detects or rules out SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

“Pag naibaba po ang cost ng RT-PCR test, hindi lang po Kapampangan ang makikinabang kundi marami pang Filipino. Ang aking pong apela ay sa DOH at kay Secretary Vince Dizon na siya pong designated na testing czar,” Governor Pineda said. 

Laboratories doing RT-PCR tests in the province charge different rates. The Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital (JBLMGH) charges P3,485; Philippine Red Cross (PRC), P4,000; and Green City Medical Center (GCMC), P6,500 excluding priority discounts and PhilHealth. 

Aside from the cost, the governor is concerned about the accuracy of the test, including conditions in the laboratories, which are also regulated by DOH and the  Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). 

“Gusto kong siguraduhin na tama ang mga lumalabas na results sa mga labs natin. Kung gagastos ang Kapampangan, gusto ko hindi masasayang ang pera nila. Mahal magpatest, at least man lang yung resulta ay tama,“ he added. 

The governor aired his appeal after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan committee on health and sanitation finished on Wednesday the first hearing on alleged discrepancies  in lab results.