PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry will look into controlling the prices of Covid-19 tests at private clinics to make them more affordable for the public.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah drew comparisons between Covid-19 tests to face masks, which saw a price hike last year following a soar in demand.
"A price control on the tests would be crucial and we are now in the process of studying the prices before we can suggest a price range at private clinics," he said at an online engagement session with the media on Friday (Feb 5).
Currently, prices of the RT-PCR and RTK-Antigen tests at private clinics can respectively range from about RM220 to RM388 and RM90 to RM170.
There is no special provision under the Private Hospitals Act 1971 to suggest a specific price range for tests only that the patient must be informed of the prices and procedures.
He said the ministry is also considering extending powers to private doctors to issue Home Surveillance Orders as the government continues to find new ways to fight the pandemic while the country is under a state of emergency.
Dr Noor Hisham said private doctors may also be given the power to issue and remove pink wristbands of individuals or patients undergoing quarantine.
"Currently, when a patient returns to the private clinic where the test was done, doctors there cannot issue the HSO (Home Surveillance Order) or the quarantine wristband.
"We're considering extending that authority to other registered medical practitioners," he said.
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