Govt to reduce Covid-19 self-test kit ceiling price by year end

Nanta (seated centre) speaks at a press conference in front of Shine Pharmacy premises at tHe Spring shopping mall in Kuching today (Sept 5, 2021) while Tan (seated left), Liew (seated right) and others look on.

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Sept 5: The federal government will reduce the ceiling price of Covid-19 self-testing kits again by year end, says Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Minister Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi.

“In the next few months, KPDNHEP together with Ministry of Health (MOH) will reduce the ceiling price for the self-test kits. This was announced by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday (Sept 4).

“I do not know the final ceiling price for the self-test kits but the new price will be made more affordable to everyone because the item has become a necessity for the people.

“Therefore, I hope the relevant industry players will take note of this matter and be prepared because we do not want anymore cries stating that such imposition is too sudden and would pressure the industry players,” he said during a visit to Shine Pharmacy at tHe Spring shopping mall in Kuching today.

Previously, Covid-19 self-test kits were priced between RM28 to RM41 in the market before the federal government imposed a ceiling price of RM16 for wholesale and RM19.90 for retail which comes into effect today.

The price was determined based on price surveillance in pharmacies nationwide, feedback from the Medical Device Authority (MDA) and the Customs Department as well as discussions with stakeholders including manufacturers, importers, retailers and pharmaceutical associations.

Nanta said retailers are given a week’s grace to clear their stock of self-test kits sold at the old price whereby KPDNHEP enforcement officers would only monitor and give out reminders to the retailers within that period.

On behalf of federal government, he also thanked suppliers of self-test kits who provide rebate to retailers which enable the latter to sell the item at a lower price. Following this, Shine Pharmacy for instance, is now selling all brands of self-test kits at a fixed price of RM19.50.

Nanta also revealed that there are currently 16 brands of Covid-19 self-test kits which have registered with MDA for public use and the number of brands will continue to increase to enhance market competition so that the price of self-test kits would naturally become cheaper.

“Apart from that, the government will also expand sales of self-test kits to convenience stores and not limit it only to pharmacies so that the item is made more widely available to everyone including those living in rural areas,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nanta also said that MOH will consult with KPDNHEP and clinical service providers to decide on the ceiling price for Covid-19 swab tests at health facilities.

Also present were KPDNHEP Sarawak director Datuk Stanley Tan and Shine Pharmacy managing director Charles Liew. — DayakDaily