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Fact Check: Does India have the highest price for coronavirus tests?

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Summary

The Coronavirus test is free in government hospitals and in government-run laboratories and only priced for private hospitals

Several netizens have made claims on social media platforms that India has priced the COVID19 testing kits for a higher price ( Rs 4,500 ) whereas in other countries it is either free or priced much lesser.

The posts claiming the high price for COVID19 tests in India are seen to be comparing the “high price” with other countries such as US, Europe, Sri Lanka, China, etc. 

Another Twitter post reads, "Poor people cannot afford Rs 4500 for corona test. #MakeTestingFree".

Test Free in Government Labs

The testing for COVID19 in India is free in government hospitals and in government-run laboratories and only priced for private hospitals. The National Task Force has set the maximum price for COVID19 tests to be Rs 4,500 at private labs. "This may include Rs 1500 for a screening test for suspect cases and an additional Rs 3,000 as confirmation test charges,” read the message which provides the justification for the fixed maximum price. The private labs are to be NABL-accredited and this was allowed as the COVID19 cases in India are increasing rapidly by the day. 

Moreover, it is to be noted that private hospitals and laboratories in most of the other countries charge for testing as well. For instance, Sri Lanka has permitted private labs to conduct tests as well with a maximum charge of Rs 6000. Similarly, a report on the testing prices in the US reads, “Medicare has released the prices of COVID-19 tests: $35.92 for the tests developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $51.33 for all other commercial tests” which in Indian money is Rs 2706 and Rs 3866 and highly depends on insurance facilities. Furthermore, in China a coronavirus test is 370 yuan which is Rs 3992. 

In conclusion, it is a false claim that only India charges money for coronavirus tests. Many other countries which were claimed by netizens to be conducting tests free of costs also charge for the tests that are carried out in private laboratories

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