Health ministry issues new price cap on COVID-19 testing

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A medical worker takes samples for COVID-19 testing in the northern province of Tuyên Quang. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Cường

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health has issued new guidelines on the cost of testing for SAR-CoV-2, which comes into effect on Monday.

The document sets out the price regulation for SAR-CoV-2 testing conducted at State-owned medical facilities, a process that includes taking and preserving samples, performing tests, and announcing the result.

According to the new circular, rapid antigen testing is capped at VNĐ78,000 (US$3.40) per test, 30 per cent lower than before.

Previously, the cost for rapid testing was set at VNĐ109,700 (US$4.80).

Meanwhile, COVID-19 testing using automated or semi-automated immunoassay analysers is set at VNĐ178,900 (US$7.80) per test, a slight drop from the previous price of VNĐ186,600 (US$8.10).

For real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing, the price cap is VNĐ501,800 (US$22), also a decrease from VNĐ518,400 (US$22.70) in the past.

The pricing structure consists of the direct cost of taking and preserving samples, performing tests, and issuing results, plus a salary payment for medical staff.

It also includes the costs of testing reagents, according to actual use and purchase price in accordance with laws.

The new guidelines are applicable to cases in which SAR-CoV-2 testing fees are covered by the health insurance fund; people who pay for their tests themselves or are paid for by the State budget, according to the Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases.

It is not applicable to COVID-19 tests in the community which has already been covered by the State budget.

Việt Nam’s new caseload has been witnessing a sharp increase in the past few weeks, with the rolling seven-day average now reaching 34,696.

In December last year, the director of Việt Á Technologies and several officials have been arrested and prosecuted for their involvement in the case of overcharging RT-PCR test kits. — VNS

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