West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has slashed the maximum price of RT-PCR test to detect the novel coronavirus by private labs to Rs.950.
The RT-PCR tests are more-reliable but expensive tests for detecting COVID-19. The earlier rate was Rs.1,250 in private hospitals and labs across West Bengal.
Though a notification is yet to be issued, the move has been welcomed by the hospitals’ association of eastern India, which has sought help in acquiring test kits at the same cost as the government does.
This is the second time that the price of RT-PCR tests for private hospitals and labs has been revised in West Bengal since October. West Bengal has recorded 4.9 lakh COVID-19 cases with 8,527 deaths, so far.
Earlier, other states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Odisha and Delhi had reduced the price of RT-PCR test to be charged by the private labs.
The Odisha Government had slashed the maximum price for the coronavirus tests by private laboratories to Rs.400 from Rs.1,200 across the state, making it the cheapest in the country.
The Yogi Adityanath government had also slashed the price of RT-PCR test to detect the coronavirus infection at Rs.700 and Rs.900 if done at home.
The Gujarat and Delhi government capped the price of the RT-PCR tests conducted by private labs for coronavirus at Rs.800.
The Rajasthan government had also cut the rate for Covid-19 RT-PCR tests by private labs in the state to Rs.800, slashing it by Rs.400.
The Supreme Court is also hearing a plea that seeks to have the cost of RT-PCR tests capped at Rs.400 across India.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, asked the Union of India (UOI) to file its response on the petition filed by advocate Ajay Agrawal.
The plea claimed that different rates are being charged across the country whereas the cost of the test actually works at just Rs. 200.