On Tuesday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), declared that the price cap of Rs. 4500 for the RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) tests will be removed. The states will now be free to decide on the costs at which the tests will be conducted.
At the very first stage, when the pandemic broke out in India, there had been a scarcity of the testing kits, and India largely depended on imported products for the test procedures. Hence to satisfy the costs and effort involved in the importing process, the ICMR, then, had set a price limit of Rs. 4500, for a single test.
Now that, with time, the testing supplies are becoming stable and the kits used are somewhat readily available in the local markets, the ICMR announced that Rs. 4500, which was the upper fixed price for conducting a test, will not be applicable now onwards. It has not been mentioned what will be the updated pricing but the states can now decide on what will be the cost for the RT-PCR tests.
“Due to varied options of testing materials/kits including indigenous ones, the prices are becoming competitive and are undergoing reduction. In this backdrop and keeping in view the evolving prices of the testing commodities, the earlier suggested upper ceiling of INR 4500 vide letter dated 17/3/2020 may not be applicable now and therefore all state governments/ UT administrations are advised to negotiate with private labs and fix up mutually agreeable prices for samples being sent by the government and also for private individuals desirous of testing by these labs”, said the letter from the ICMR Director, General Balram Bhargava.