Win-win approach needed on Covid self test kit price

by AZREEN HANI / pic by BERNAMA

THE government needs to consider all views to ensure a “win-win approach” to lower the ceiling price of Covid-19 self-test kits.

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said the government took note of the need for an affordable self-test kit for the people, but the relevant industry’s views should also be considered.

“The decision to lower the price of the Covid-19 antigen rapid test kit must not be made in hurry as more studies are needed. The ministry needs to take into account the interests of all parties and formulate a win-win approach,” he told Dewan Rakyat, in response to Rasah MP Cha Kee Chin’s query.

“The Ministry should also take into account the relevant industry’s point of view for their business sustainability as well. We need to study in terms of production costs and import costs before we set a new maximum price,” he explained.

Nanta Linggi said that KPDNHEP will continue to hold joint engagement sessions with the Ministry of Health, as well as taking into account the discussion and stakeholders’ views including pharmacies and clinic facilities.

Currently, the ceiling price for the self-test kit is set at RM16.00 per unit for wholesale and RM19.90 per unit for retail.

Meanwhile, the KPDNHEP has issued a total of 10 warnings against traders who sold the units above the ceiling price.

A total of 2,261 premises were inspected involving 123 wholesale premises and 2,138 retail premises, the minister said.

Last Sunday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the Covid-19 Care Package (PPC) worthRM471.6 million to the lower income families, aimed to alleviate the financial burden of household expenditure of this group.

The PM said the PPC aid, which is expected to benefit 3.6 million households, included among others, four reusable face masks and four Covid-19 self-test kits for each household.

In addition, each family will also receive a pulse oximeter and a thermometer, as well as user guidelines and health brochures.

“This effort, among others, aims at easing the financial burden of B40 households and preparing them towards new normal practices as well as helping them in protecting their families from Covid-19 infection,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

Ismail Sabri said the PPC would be distributed first to recipients of the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) who are married.