The Jakarta Post
The government has set the price ceiling for individually requested COVID-19 swab tests at Rp 900,000 (US$60.6) to eliminate price disparities following concerns over the high costs of tests at private laboratories.
The price ceiling was determined after a discussion with the Development Finance Comptroller (BPKP) on analysis and surveys of health care facilities, the Health Ministry’s public health director general, Abdul Kadir, said.
“Our problem are the price disparities; the prices are not uniform.” Kadir was quoted as saying in a statement published Friday.
“It is for this reason that the caps have been set for the cost of independent swab and RT-PCR [reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction] tests.”
The prices will be enforced through a Health Minister circular expected to be issued soon, he added.
Furthermore, the ministry has asked regional health agencies to ensure that local health facilities in their respective areas implement the price cap.
Iwan Taufiq Purwanto, one of the BPKP’s deputy heads for government agency supervision, said the comptroller would supervise the implementation of the price ceiling.
According to the ministry, the COVID-19 swab test price usually covers the labor cost of the doctors and other testing personnel, consumables such as personal protective equipment and other overhead costs such as waste management.
Prior to the regulation, the national COVID-19 task force said several hospitals had charged more than Rp 2.5 million for swab tests.
With COVID-19 rapid tests still being widely used in the country, including as a requirement for travel, the ministry set the price cap for the tests at Rp 150,000 in July.
According to Worldometer.info, Indonesia has conducted more than 3.6 million COVID-19 swab tests as of Oct. 2. The country has recorded 295,449 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 10,972 fatalities as of Friday.