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Delhi HC seeks Delhi govt response on capping of RT-PCR test cost at Rs 800

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Delhi High Court judge Justice Navin Chawla has sought the Delhi government’s response on a petition by Association of Practicing Pathologists (Regd) challenging the capping of price of Rs 800 on RT-PCR COVID tests by private labs. 

The Delhi government last month ordered all private laboratories to reduce the price of RT-PCR tests in the capital to Rs 800 from Rs 2,400. The Court will hear the matter next on February 25. 

The petition filed by Association of Practicing Pathologists (Regd) through Advocate Neeraj Grover submitted that the Delhi Government has passed the capping order without appreciating the fact that the three different tests being RT-PCR Open System test, TruNAT and CBNAAT single cartridge based tests are three totally different kind of tests with acute variations in sensitivity, specificity, turnaround times and, most importantly, costs involved in consumables.

The Petitioner Association has submitted that the government has arbitrarily and without any authority of law fixed the price cap on charges of RT-PCR based Molecular Tests for COVID-19 in Delhi by private sector labs, thereby violating several fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution under Article 14, 19 (1) (g) and violating the fundamental rights of the common man under Article 21.

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The petition stated, “The respondent/Delhi Govt while capping the charges for RTPCR Molecular Based Testing has not taken in to account that the three methods of testing being RT-PCR (open system), CBNAAT and TRUNAT are loosely referred to as RT-PCR based molecular tests in general parlance but the said tests differ in their respective sensitivity, specificity and turnaround times and the costs involved in doing all these tests are different and so is the capabilities of various labs in private sector to conduct such tests on account of infrastructural and capital requirements. While the costs to labs for doing RTPCR (open system) tests is around Rs 1,200, the cost for TRUNAT is around Rs 2,000 and the cost for CBNAAT tests is around Rs 3,500.”

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