Pathcare becomes third private lab to reduce price of Covid-19 PCR tests
The country’s third largest private laboratory, Pathcare, announced on Monday it has concluded a settlement with the Competition Commission to reduce its Covid-19 test prices to no more than R500 per test with immediate effect.
The Pathcare settlement agreement comes on the back of an announcement by the commission on Sunday that two other laboratories, Ampath and Lancet Laboratories, have agreed to substantially reduce the price of Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
Pathcare said the price reduction will remain in effect for two years from the date of confirmation of the consent agreements as orders of the Competition Tribunal.
The Health Funders Association welcomed the reduction.
The association, a representative organisation for medical schemes, administrators and managed care organisations, said it had expressed concerns about the high price for Covid-19 tests since November last year.
On behalf of its members, it attempted on numerous occasions to engage the National Pathology Group — the representative association of pathology laboratories — to reduce prices .
This was to be done under the current block exemptions which allow medical schemes to address PCR pricing directly with pathologists.
Despite these efforts, regulatory intervention was required to secure a price reduction.
The association said it was grateful to the Council for Medical Schemes for lodging the formal complaint with the commission.
“We are grateful to the Competition Commission for stepping in. We believe the Covid-19 pandemic calls for the entire health industry to work together in minimising both the human and financial impact of this unprecedented time,” CEO Lerato Mosiah said.
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