The Rs 600 price cap imposed on all chikungunya tests by the state government is being opposed by private healthcare institutions which say the amount is not enough to compensate for the cost incurred on each test, thus causing them a loss.
Representatives of Indian Medical Association (IMA) met deputy commissioner TL Satyaprakash and health department officials on Monday and raised concerns over the price cap imposed. However, both sides failed to arrive at a consensus.
Earlier this month, days after a Delhi government ordered a price cap on chikungunya tests at private hospitals, the Gurgaon health department also adopted a similar cap for tests.
As per the directive, all diagnostic tests for chikungunya could not exceed Rs 600. In June, the same order had been issued for dengue tests too.
In the absence of a price cap, private hospitals and laboratories were asking patients to take two tests, with the cost ranging from Rs 800 to Rs 4,000.
The contention raised by private representatives was that the Delhi government had not put the same price cap on all tests.
They stated that elisa test was capped at Rs 600 and RT PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) Rs 1,500. But in Gurgaon, Both price for both test has been at Rs 600 each.
Following discussions, the officials of the IMA officials and district administration were able to consent on the price cap of elisa test. However, they failed to agree on a price cap for RT PCR.
It is learnt that private representatives wanted the price cap for RT PCR on a par with that in Delhi -- Rs 1500. Health Department officials though did not want the test costs to exceed Rs 1000.
“The RT PCR kit has a cost price ranging above Rs 1200 and requires monitoring of a qualified technician adding to the total cost. The equipment used for the test are highly capital intensive and complex in nature. We cannot ignore the fact that these tests involve 10% wastage and a repetition of the process in some cases. We are agreeing to comply with the order if costs incurred can be recovered by placing a higher price cap,” Dr DS Yadav, an executive board member of IMA, said.
There are two types of antigen test kits for chikungunya, elisa test and RT PCR. The RT PCR test is considered more accurate but it is costlier and time consuming. The elisa test is quick and is recommended in most private facilities to diagnose the disease.
“A letter has been sent to the state health department for analysing the costs incurred for the test. A final decision will be taken after the report is received,” Pushpa Bishnoi, chief medical officer, Gurgaon, said.