The High Court of Kerala state on Monday quashed the State government's order reducing the price of RT PCR tests from Rs1700 to Rs 500 in all the private diagnostic labs in the State. The directives were passed on a few writ petitions by Accredited Molecular Testing Laboratories and another private lab challenging the order slashing the price of RT PCR tests.
Justice T R Ravi directed the State government to take up within 3 weeks, a fresh call on the price of RT PCR tests being conducted in private labs after holding talks with the owners or representatives of the lab. According to the petitioners, the average cost of conducting an RT-PCR test as per the present norms and quality standards would come to around Rs1500 per test. Actually, revision in the prices of the test had destructively affected their interest as well as the quality of the RT-PCR test. The petitioners contended that the order reducing the price of RT PCR tests was issued without jurisdiction and in violation of principles of natural justice. The State govt had no power to issue an order fixing the price for the test.
They pointed out that the customers of the private labs was either persons who wanted to travel abroad or persons who intended to undergo surgeries and operations in private hospitals. The cheaper testing kits were available in the market but they might not produce accurate results. The accuracy of the tests would be diluted by fixing a cheaper rate for the tests. They mooted that the order had unilaterally fixed the price, without giving hearing them. Besides, criminal cases were being initiated against those who had refused to comply with the government order.