COVID-19: Private labs flout AP government guidelines, charge Rs. 1000 for RT-PCR

Previously, the cost had been fixed at Rs 475 for samples sent by the state government. Individuals were asked to pay Rs 499 for tests at ICMR approved NABL Labs.

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  9 Feb 2022 9:10 AM GMT
COVID-19: Private labs flout AP government guidelines, charge  Rs. 1000 for RT-PCR

Amaravati: Even as the Andhra Pradesh government has reduced the prices of RT-PCR tests to Rs 350, some labs are charging Rs 800-1000 from the people.

Many labs are demanding up to Rs 1000 from people intending to embark on international travel. Likewise, there is a separate rate list for home sample collection.

Andhra Pradesh government has recently revised the rates for Covid-19 testing in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved private National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).

Previously, the cost had been fixed at Rs 475 for samples sent by the state government. Individuals were asked to pay Rs 499 for tests at ICMR approved NABL Labs. It included screening and confirmatory tests.

The decision was taken in view of the increased availability of kits in the market. Plus more firms had started manufacturing RNA extraction Kits and RT-PCR kits.

International travel

With cases dropping and flight services resuming, many people are seen returning to their work in other countries. For any international traveler, the RTPCR test not before 48 hours of travel date is a must. Some of the labs in the state are seen charging Rs 1000 for an international traveler.

"I went directly to a lab in Vijayawada to get an RTPCR test to travel to Dubai. Normally, they charge Rs 350 for a normal test. When I said it was for an international purpose, they charged Rs 1000 saying they would give a QR code. Assuming that it is important, I paid Rs 1000. However, at the time of travel, there was no QR scanning done at the airport", said Rajesh (name changed), a Vijayawada resident.

Meanwhile, a few labs in the state are seen charging Rs 600-1000 for RTPCR sample collection at the lab. With the majority of them opting for home sample collection, many labs are trying to fleece patients.

The same test samples collected at home are charged depending upon the distance technologist had to cover. "For walk-in, we charge Rs 350 as per the government order. But the test result will be given in two days. If a person needs the result in one day, we charge Rs 800. For home samples, the charges are Rs 1000", said a diagnostic lab in Visakhapatnam.

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