Price control on Covid-19 Antigen Rapid test kit to ensure affordability

A variety of Covid-19 self-test kits available on the market. File Photo

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KUCHING, Sept 3: The maximum price for the Covid-19 Antigen Rapid test kit (self- test kit) was made to ensure affordability and to avoid it being sold at unscrupulous prices.

Defending its recent announcement on enforcing the maximum price for the self-test kit, Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Datuk Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi took a firm stand that the ministry is clear with its intention and action, as it is also well-founded under the Section 4 of the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 (AKHAP 2011).

“I would appreciate if the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Association can be more rational and act in a realistic manner with the current situation. These self-test kits are a sensitive item in terms of price and supply for the people during the pandemic. Due to the current situation, they are relevant to be controlled in the interest of the well-being of the people and the nation.

“The Government’s intention was never to pressure any industry. We are neutral and the concern is mainly to ensure the well-being of the health of the people during this challenging Covid-19 pandemic period,” Nanta clarified in a statement.

Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi

He added that this has also been agreed and supported by the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) through the Medical Device Authority (MDA) to encourage self-monitoring in detecting the presence as well as controlling the transmission of Covid-19 by consumers.

Yesterday (Sept 2), the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Association issued a media statement relating to the announcement of the maximum retail and wholesale pricing of Covid-19 Antigen Rapid test kit.

KPDNHEP had earlier announced the maximum price for retail at RM19.90 and wholesale at RM16 per kit.

As for the maximum price sold in Sabah and Sarawak, Nanta said the Ministry has taken into account every cost involved.

Based on the information given by suppliers in both states, he asserted that the maximum price will be no different and it will not burden the people in Sabah and Sarawak.

On claims that the implementation was made in a hurry, Nanta insisted it was untrue.

In realising the importance of the test kit as a key requirement to monitor the Covid-19 situation, he explained that KPDNHEP has arranged a planned operation within a reasonable period of time to implement the price control.

This is to ensure that the kit can be purchased at an affordable price by consumers.

“This was also in line with the statement made by Malaysian Pharmaceutical Association which they’ve also agreed that this self-test kit should be available at an affordable price.

“The planning and works have been carried out for one month to determine the relevant work processes involved to implement the price control such as engagement sessions with relevant industries, government agencies including MOH and the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, associations and pharmaceutical operators.

“Engagement sessions were also held with manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers to obtain accurate information on the supply and sale of these tools,” Nanta explained.

He further added that KPDNHEP is concerned about the complaints received from the public and at the time, they also received feedback from various parties in order for the Government to take appropriate initiatives to enable these self-test kits to be purchased at a lower price as compared to the existing market price.

Although the content of the discussion did not touch specifically on actual control pricing, he asserted that all industry players involved should know the purpose of the discussion was to obtain information on pricing and supply mechanisms.

Nanta assured that every details and feedback received from their engagement sessions has been taken into account by KPDNHEP in implementing the maximum pricing provided under Section 4, AKHAP 2011.

Previously, the same Act was also used for face masks and palm cooking oil in bottle packs.

Meanwhile, KPDNHEP is allowing a period of up to one week for traders and all parties involved to make their price adjustments.

The same relaxation period will also be implemented by the enforcement team from the effective date of the ceiling price of this self-test kit beginning Sept 5, 2021. — DayakDaily