‘Overpriced’: Duterte seeks probe on COVID-19 test price issue

first_imgAn Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) from Thailand holds his 2-year-old son as he covers his nose at a swab testing center for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Manila on May 13, 2020. ABS-CBN NEWS “Bibigyan ko po ng kumpirmasyon na nababahala ang Presidente lalung-lalo doon sa pagkakaiba ng presyo ng testing kit,” he added. During the Senate hearing recently, opposition senator Franklin Drilon urged the Department of Health to look into the COVID-19 testing package of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).According to Drilon, the PhilHealth will shoulder the cost for P8,150 per test, which is double compared to the price of the Philippine Red Cross, which can do the same test for only P4,000.“Whether it’s due to corruption or gross negligence, I do not know. But it is the duty of (PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo) Morales to find out. To disburse so much funds is manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to Filipinos. It is against the law and unconscionable. We cannot let this pass,” Drilon said.“This is not the first time we’ve heard of Philhealth’s incompetence. Remember the ghost patients and fake cataract surgeries? We cannot discount the possibility of fake COVID-19 tests,” he added.According to Drilon, the package amounting to P8,150 includes the following services: screening at P509.06, diagnostic workup at P799.69, specimen collection at P947.12, specimen transport at P451.14, and PCR testing for P5,422.91.“Upon consultation with medical experts, I leaned that the expenses being paid by Philhealth are questionable because they are completely unnecessary,” the Ilonggo senator said.After being called out, Morales said on Thursday the P8,150 price tag was only for test kits that were acquired in March when there was limited supply and PhilHealth will come up with an updated benefit package rate by next week.Roque has earlier said that the government plans to test up to two percent of the country’s population to determine the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines./PNcenter_img MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte wants an investigation into the alleged overpriced health equipment procured by the government for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, his spokesman Harry Roque said.“Nais po niya [Duterte] ng kasagutan and investigation kasi hindi po nga niya maintindihan gaya ng buong sambayanan kung bakit ganoon kalaki ang discrepancy,” Roque said in an interview over Teleradyo.last_img

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