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‘Costly’ private labs not ready to reduce PCR test charge, warn of suspending service

File: Coronavirus tests are underway at a lab in Nepalgunj.
File: Coronavirus tests are underway at a lab in Nepalgunj.

Kathmandu, October 2

Eight labs in Kathmandu that have been defying the government decision of collecting only Rs 2,000 as a fee for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for coronavirus have expressed their reluctance to reduce the charge as directed by the government.

A day after the government issued a 24-hour ultimatum calling the labs to reduce the price, warning of suspending the permit issued for the test, the labs wrote back to the government requesting it to adjust the price.

The labs have also warned of suspending their test service from Saturday if the government does not increase the price by then.

HAMS Hospital Executive Director Dr Jyotindra Sharma says they are able to continue the service only if the government revises the fee and lets them collect Rs 3,899 per test.

“During this time of the pandemic, we do not want to fight with the government. But, we will be forced to shut our labs if the government does not adjust the price by Saturday,” he says, “It is our responsibility to support the government and serve the public during the pandemic. But, we cannot serve them in the loss.”

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