South Africa’s biggest laboratories agree to reduce PCR tests costs


A technician uses a single channel pipette dropper at an on-site laboratory processing PCR tests in the hospital at Anglo American Platinum Ltd.’s Tumela mine in Amandelbult, South Africa, on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021. /Getty Images

South Africa’s Competition Commission has reached an agreement with two major laboratories Ampath and Lancet to reduce the price of COVID-19 PCR test prices from 850 to 500 rand(53 to 31 U.S. dollars).

The Competition Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele announced this on Sunday at a press briefing.

He stated that in October this year they received a complaint from Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) of some laboratories charging exorbitant prices for PCR tests. The Competition Commission chose not to fine the two laboratories but agreed on price reduction.

“PCR tests have become essential in the fight against COVID-19. While there are other forms of testing, the PCR tests are required by doctors and various institutions, including for travel purposes,” he said, adding that the new price will be effective immediately.

He called on other laboratories charging high prices to reduce or face prosecution.

“The Commission’s investigation also revealed that the Pathology Groups have been earning significant profits since March 2020, especially in the current financial year to date. Firms are still able to exploit consumers by earning excessive profits on essential products or services. We also call upon all labs conducting PCR tests to be sensitive to the plight of the public in this time, and use the settlement as a guidance,” Bonakele said.

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