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Philippine Standard Time

The Department of Health (DOH) lauded the directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD) to ensure equitable and affordable access to COVID-19 tests and test kits after PRRD signed Executive Order (EO) No. 118, series 2020 today, November 4.

EO No. 118 was signed following DOH’s recommendation to impose a price ceiling on COVID-19 testing. The said EO directs the DOH and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to determine, formulate, and implement a price range for COVID-19 testing–including the test kits used–conducted by hospitals, laboratories, and other health establishments and facilities, as licensed by the DOH.

The DOH made the recommendation in accordance with Section 7 of Republic Act No. 7581 or the “Price Act” which provides that the President, upon recommendation of an implementing agency, may impose a price ceiling on any basic necessity or prime commodity during the existence or effects of a calamity or emergency.

Further, Section 9 of Republic Act No. 11494 states that consistent with Article XII, Section 17 of the Constitution, when the public interest so requires, the President during the effectivity of the Act, may direct the operation of any privately-owned hospitals and medical and health facilities.

The price regulation will cover both public and private hospitals, laboratories, and other health facilities licensed by the DOH to conduct COVID-19 testing. Once approved, the imposed price ceiling of COVID-19 testing will form part of the requirements for licensing of hospitals, laboratories and other health facilities as COVID-19 testing centers.

“Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the prevailing state of a public health emergency, the rising cost of COVID-19 tests may prove unduly burdensome to the Filipino public in this difficult time. In protecting the public against hazards to health and safety, it becomes imperative to likewise ensure their protection against unfair and unconscionable prices of essential health services,” Sec. Duque said.

Pursuant to the Executive Order, DOH is coordinating with DTI in drafting the implementing guidelines and in diligently reviewing considerations for determining the price range of COVID-19 testing and test kits.

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