Duterte orders probe on ‘overpriced’ COVID-19 test kits



President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered an investigation on the alleged overpricing of  COVID-19 test kits.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the President expressed concern over reports of potential overpricing.

“Nais po niya ng kasagutan and investigation kasi hindi po nga niya maintindihan gaya ng buong sambayanan kung bakit ganoon kalaki ang discrepancy,” Roque said in a radio interview.

Senator Franklin Drilon recently urged the Department of Health (DOH) to look into the testing package of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

The senator said that PhilHealth will shoulder the cost for P8,150 per test, double the price from the private sector, including the Philippine Red Cross, which can do the same test for only P4,000.

PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales said the P8,150 price tag was only for test kits that were acquired in March when there was limited supply.

Morales also assured the public that PhilHealth will come up with an updated benefit package rate for people infected with COVID-19 by next week.

Roque earlier said he would refer the matter to Undersecretary Jesus Melchor Quitain of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President since the latter previously looked into the other anomalies at PhilHealth.

The government plans to test up to 2 percent of the country’s population to determine the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines./Stacy Ang

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