A Covid-19 test will now cost less than a thousand rupees in Maharashtra. It’s a four-fold decrease in the cost of the test since March when people paid as much as Rs 4,500 for it.
The Maharashtra government on Monday slashed Covid testing rates for the fourth time in the last seven months. The reduction in cost is in the Rs 200-220 range.
The real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, considered gold standard for Covid-19 detection, will now cost Rs 980 for anyone who walks into a laboratory, Rs 1,400 for samples collected from Covid care centres, hospitals, or dispensaries. And Rs 1,800 if swab is collected from home.
“We are now conducting 70,000 tests per million population. We are focused on increasing the number of tests to beat the virus,” said state Health Minister Rajesh Tope.
The last price capping on RT-PCR tests was on September 6 when anyone walking into a laboratory had to pay Rs 1,200, Rs 1,600 if laboratory collected samples from hospital or Covid care centre and Rs 2,000 for home collection.
On May 25, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) removed the price cap for Covid-19 test and wrote to all state governments to fix their own costs after consulting with stakeholders. Until then, private labs were charging Rs 4,500 for each RT-PCR test.
In June, Maharashtra brought down the rates to Rs 2,800 for home collection. The rates have since consistently reduced as more manufacturers produce testing kits and increase its volume.
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