(Bloomberg) -- The Philippines has set a price cap for Covid-19 swab tests amid complaints of exorbitant and wide price disparity, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.

The price for real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR test is capped at 5,000 pesos ($104) in private hospitals and 3,800 pesos in government laboratories, Duque said in a briefing. Some testing centers have charged as much as 13,000 pesos for the tests.

The Philippines, which has the second-worst outbreak in Southeast Asia, plans to buy as many as 50 million doses from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said in a separate briefing. U.S.-based Novavax Inc. is another possible vaccine source, he said.

Key Insights

  • Hospitals, laboratories that violate price cap on RT-PCR test will be fined up to 30,000 pesos, have license suspended up to a month, Duque said. License to conduct tests will be revoked for three-time violators, he said.
  • Government is looking to impose price cap for other test kits, including antigen tests
  • AstraZeneca Plc has already submitted complete documents for clinical trial of its vaccine in the country, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

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