RT-PCR test material can be provided to private labs at reasonable cost: Govt tells Kerala HC
Kochi: The Kerala government has informed the High Court here that raw materials for RT-PCR tests can be supplied to private labs here at a reasonable price so that they can conduct the test for Rs 500.
The state government also told the court that it has in principle agreed to the proposition that Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSC) can supply the materials as requested by private labs, as a temporary measure, particularly in light of the situation created by the pandemic. The submission before Justice T R Ravi was made in response to the court''s query on July 8 as to whether KMSC can provide the raw materials for RT-PCR to private labs at a reasonable cost to enable them to conduct the test at the rate of Rs 500 which was fixed by the state government.
The court''s query had come on several pleas by several private labs challenging an April 30 order of the state government, slashing the rates for RT-PCR tests from Rs 1,700 to Rs 500. In view of the submission by the government, the court asked the private labs to place their orders with KMSC which in turn was asked to arrange supply of the raw materials. The court then posted the plea for further hearing on July 30.
The state government had on July 8 informed the court that it had arrived at the figure of Rs 500 as the rates arrived at by KMSC or RT-PCR tests through static and mobile labs was Rs 448.20 per test. It had also submitted that the cost of the kits and consumables for the purpose of carrying out the RT-PCR testhas come down and that for similar tests the rates charged in states like Haryana, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Odisha were comparable with the price fixed by the Kerala government. The private labs, however, had contended that rates arrived at by KMSC were not justified as it makes purchases for the state in bulk and therefore, can get the materials at a much lesser price than the institutions who do not procure the same in such large volumes.
Earlier, a single judge bench had declined to stay the April 30 order, against which the private labs had appealed before a division bench which dismissed the same, but left open the legal and factual contentions to be raised before the single judge.