Philhealth defends ‘overpriced’ COVID-19 test kit package

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Philippine Health Insurance Corp. () on Thursday explained the alleged “overpriced” P8,150 package, saying the high demand brought the high cost during the first months of the virus outbreak.

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

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“Ito naman kasing P8,000, kung binili ng hospital. Alam mo naman nung panahon na ‘yun, RITM lang ang nagte-test at ‘yung capacity, iilan lang, kaya siyempre law of supply and demand,” he said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

(This P8,000, if the hospital bought it. You know that during that time, RITM is the only testing center, and the capacity was limited, so it is the law of supply and demand.)

“Ang lakas ng demand, kakaunti ang mahanap na test kits, so kaya mataas noon,” he added.

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(The demand was high, you can only find few test kits, so the price is high then.)

Also read: Senate to probe alleged overpriced DOH medical supplies

Philhealth defends ‘overpriced’ COVID-19 test kit package

During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon questioned PhilHealth’s P8,150 COVID-19 test package, while other tests only cost P2,700.

Morales said the prices dropped after the private sector stepped in and produced more test kits for the country.

“Ngayon ‘pag pasok ng Red Cross eh NGO ang Red Cross, siguro may nakukuha sila preferential rate, meron silang quantity rate, nakakuha sila ng P3,500,” he explained.

(When the Red Cross which as NGO came in, maybe they got a preferential rate, they have quantity rate, they got P3,500.)

Morales added the state insurer would update the case package for COVID-19 test kits by next week. 

“Tinitignan namin’ yung mga Statement of Account ng mga hospital kung magkano ang ginastos, so nare-refine natin ang ating pricing. Next week maglalabas kami ulit ng bagong case rate para sa testing at ito ay mas mababa,” he said.

(We are looking at the hospitals’ Statement of Accounts on how much they spent so we can refine our pricing. We will release a new testing case rate, and this will be at a lower price.)

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