President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) finally decided to lower the price of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests for the Covid-19 diagnosis to a range of between Rp 450,000 and Rp 550,000.
Responding to this, the Secretary General of the Indonesian Hospital Association (PERSI), Lia G. Partakusuma said that the government has the authority to regulate the price of reagents/ PCR tests.
PERSI requested that in determining the selling price, the government should take into account the operational costs of laboratory requirements such as special molecular labs, as high safety standards including special equipment are required.
“We totally agree that the price of PCR (tests) is reduced, but we ask that the purchase price must also be lowered,” Partakusuma said.
Partakusuma said that in order to lower the price of PCR tests, a special purchase price from the government is required. If this is not possible, then a subsidy is required from the government so that the cost of the PCR test can be in the range of Rp. 450,000 to Rp. 550,000 as requested by President Jokowi.
Furthermore, PERSI shall ensure that hospitals/labs continue to carry out PCR tests as usual. PCR testing services are conducted according to the capabilities of each hospital/lab.
“It may require a time lag for implementation (of new PCR test pricing) because PCR tests have already been purchased at the old price,” said Partakusuma.
Currently the highest price for PCR tests in Indonesia (based on the Circular of the Minister of Health) is set at IDR 900,000.
The Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) said it had discussed the plan to evaluate the pricing of PCR tests, considering the large number of requests from the public.
“We are open to input; the team will discuss it going forward,” said the Director of Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases at the Ministry of Health, Siti Nadia Tarmizi.