Rajesh Tope
Rajesh Tope|IANS (File photo)

Maharashtra slashes by 50% COVID-19 lab test charges


Mumbai, June 13, 2020

In a significant move, the Maharashtra government has slashed by 50 per cent the charges levied by private laboratories for conducting COVID-19 tests, said Health Minister Rajesh Tope here on Saturday.

It would make the COVID-19 test charges in the state uniform and also the lowest in the country, he said.

At present, private labs are charging between Rs 4,500 and Rs 5,200 (for home tests), making it unaffordable for a large number of people. "Even several organisations that wanted to conduct tests on their employees found it too expensive and hence we decided to study the issue," Tope said.

A committee of experts, headed by Dr Suhakar Shinde and comprising Dr Sadhna Tayde, Dr Ajay Chandanwale, and Prof Amit Joshi, studied the issue. "They recommended Rs 2,200-Rs 2,800 rate (for home tests) that we have accepted and implemented. This will prove to be a huge relief to the people," the Minister said.

Since the numbers of tests were rising in a big way, the rates must come down and the labs must desist from profiteering, he added.

Maharashtra is conducting the highest number -- 6.25 lakh till now -- of tests, with the maximum taking place in Mumbai. The lower rates would enable more people to go for COVID-19 tests, he said.

The tests are being conducted at 95 labs in the state, including 42 private labs. Tope said the tests at lower rates would be done without compromising on the ICMR guidelines.

Of the 101,141 COVID-19 cases reported in the state, 49,616 are active. While 3,717 people died, 47,796 have recovered.