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DOH sets price cap on antigen testing services at P660, self-administered test kits at P350

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Feb 09, 2022 12:34 pm

The Department of Health (DOH) has lowered the price cap on self-administered antigen test kits and antigen testing services.

In the DOH Circular No. 2021-0323-B dated Jan. 28, which was released on Feb. 8, the price cap of self-administered antigen test kits was set at P350. 

Meanwhile, antigen testing services was capped at P660 (previously at P960) with the following breakdown:

SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test Kit P350
Operational Cost (Other Related Laboratory Supplies and Overheads P250
10% Allowable Mark-up P60
Final cost (price cap) P660

The updated price caps for antigen rapid diagnostic test kits and testing services are effective starting Feb. 20. 

According to the circular, the antigen test kits subsidized or donated by the DOH and other government agencies to DOH-licensed public and private health facilities and clinical laboratories “shall be provided at zero cost to individuals.”

“DOH-licensed health facilities and clinical laboratories may have prices lower than the prescribed price cap for antigen rapid diagnostic testing, provided that quality of services in maintained,” the circular read.

Complaints on laboratories, hospitals and other facilities that charge prices that exceed the price cap shall be reported to the Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau. 

In January, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of two self-administered COVID-19 antigen test kits by Abbott and Labnovation Technologies, Inc. 

In August 2021, the DOH lowered the price cap for real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests to prevent overpricing amid the rise of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Based on the DOH Circular. No. DOH Circular No. 2021-0374 effective Sept. 6, 2021, the price cap for plate-based testing in public facilities is P2,800 and cartridge-based GeneXpert is at P2,450.

For private facilities, the price cap for plate-based testing is P3,360 and P2,940 for cartridge-based testing with “20% allowable markup,” and for home services there is an additional P1,000 for plate-based and cartridge-based testing.