Tuesday , February 7 2023

Ministry wants Covid test kits brought under price stabilization norms

Covid-19 test kits should be among products governed by price stabilization policies to preclude a sudden increase in their prices, the Ministry of Health said.

It called on the Ministry of Finance to cap the cost of testing at private medical facilities and the General Department of Customs to fix maximum prices for imported testing equipment, including rapid antigen test kits.

In September last year 14 industry trade groups had made a similar proposal.

The Law on Prices describes price stabilization as the government’s use of appropriate measures to regulate supply and demand, and other necessary economic and administrative measures to prevent prices of goods and services from rising or falling unreasonably.

The goods subject to price stabilization include gasoline, electricity, fertilizers, salt, milk for children under six, sugar, rice, and essential drugs.

The health ministry last week issued a circular to regulate the cost of a Covid-19 rapid test at VND78,000 ($3.42), nearly 30 percent down from current rates, and at VND501,800 for a PRC test, down from VND520,000.

In January Phan Quoc Viet, general director of medical tech firm Viet A Technology Corporation, admitted to inflating the price of his company’s test kits and bribing officials to earn over VND500 billion ($21,824).

Investigators said Viet had conspired with officials at the Center for Disease Control in various localities to win bids to sell his company’s test kits.

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