Covid-19 home tests pricey due to high operating costs

COVID-19 home tests tend to be expensive due to the high operational costs involved, said the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA). Malaysian Insight reports:


It is understood that the service can cost RM700.

MMA president Dr N. Ganabaskaran told The Malaysian Insight that the operating costs involve transportation, manpower, personal protective equipment (PPE) and test kits.

“The price charged for Covid-19 home testing is more or less the same among providers of the service.

“It costs more to be tested at home due to the high operational costs involving PPE, transportation, manpower and testing kits.

“Home testing must be seen as just another option that is available.”

According to New Straits Times, DoctorOnCall quotes RM700 nett for the service.

BookDoc, Pantai Premier Pathology Sdn Bhd, Lablink (M) Sdn Bhd (KPJ), Qualitas Medical Group Sdn Bhd, Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur, Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Pantai Hospital Cheras, Pantai Hospital Klang, Pantai Hospital Ayer Keroh and Twin Towers Medical Centre at KLCC are also listed as providers.

The Health Ministry, in a recent FAQ, said asymptomatic people can get tested at home instead of a healthcare facility.

Some private hospitals are offering coronavirus screenings, costing an average of RM600.

At government facilities, the test costs just RM1, but only those considered sporadic cases, patients under investigation or close contacts can get screened.

On Monday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin urged private hospitals not to overcharge for Covid-19 testing.

“I think the rate of between RM500 and RM700 is fine. That is the competitive private sector rate.

“You can’t compare with the government hospital rate, as that is subsidised by the government.

“At public hospitals, it’s around RM700 each, too. We hope that private hospitals will not overcharge as they should carry out their corporate social responsibility in this time of emergency.”

Many Malaysians have resorted to testing themselves at private hospitals or using home kits following a hike in the number of Covid-19 infections in the country.

Yesterday, 172 new cases were reported, bringing the overall total to 1,796, with 20 deaths.

On March 16, Muhyiddin announced a two-week movement-control order to curb infections. Yesterday, he extended the directive to April 14.

The Health Ministry said the country is moving towards the fourth phase, namely mitigation, in the coronavirus crisis.

The phases are listed according to the severity of an outbreak, starting with onset, followed by early containment and late containment, and finally, mitigation. – March 26, 2020.