UP Additional Chief Secretary stated that the rates have been revised in public interest, in the wake of the increased demand.
In view of the heightened cases of the coronavirus and consequent increase in the demand of testing capacities, the Uttar Pradesh government has slashed down the rate of COVID-19 RT-PCR test across the state. As per the directives of the state administration, the rate of getting tested at private labs in Uttar Pradesh has been reduced from ₹1,600 to ₹700, which is among the lowest in the country. The labs have been allowed to charge ₹900 per RT-PCR test, if they collect the sample from the patient's home and these prices are inclusive of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Lowered testing cost to aid the government's campaign for COVID-19 surveillance
To provide respite to the pockets of the citizens, the UP government has revised the rates of COVID-19 test, by the RT-PCR method, which is deemed as the golden standard of testing. In an order issued by the Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, all private, ICMR approved laboratories conducting COVID tests will be charging a maximum of ₹900 per test. The directive also states that any lab charging more than the prescribed rate would face penal action under the Epidemic Act.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the rate of RT-PCR test at private labs was ₹4,500 and numerous regulations were introduced for the public interest. Earlier, the state government had reduced COVID-19 testing rates from ₹2,500 to ₹1,600 on September 10 and these labs were later allowed to charge a premium for collecting samples from home.
The move brought relief to people in the high burden districts like Lucknow, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Ghaziabad, Meerut, and Kanpur. The Health Department has advocated that the lowered testing cost will further aid the government's campaign for COVID-19 surveillance in the state. In addition to the infected patients, non-COVID-19 patients and professionals will benefit from this order as they have to mandatorily gets tested for work purposes, particularly for inter-state travel.
Regulated Charges for COVID-19 testing in Uttar Pradesh
On October 30, the Uttar Pradesh medical education department had announced that patients suffering with thalassemia and hemophilia will not have to pay anything for COVID testing. The testing for attendants will also be conducted free of cost. Besides this, the government has also decided to reduce the rate of COVID-19 testing for cancer and kidney patients on dialysis, to ₹300.
The cost of testing for patients with any other comorbidities have been fixed at ₹600. This decision was floated for all medical institutions and colleges in Lucknow, like the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, King George's Medical University, Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences and others.
Apart from Uttar Pradesh, the Delhi government had also brought down the rate of COVID-19 testing through RT-PCR from ₹2,400 to ₹800. State authorities of Uttarakhand, too, had reduced the rate from ₹1,600 to ₹850 and ₹900, for home collection.
- With inputs from IANS