A group of private diagnostic laboratories in Kerala filed an appeal with the Kerala High Court, challenging the state government’s decision to reduce the cost of RT-PCR tests from 1,700 to 500 rupees. The laboratory owners stated in their petition that, under current norms and quality standards, the average cost of performing an RT-PCR test was Rs. 1,500. The revision of the charges will have a negative impact on the test quality.
They pointed out that there were cheaper test kits on the market, but that they might not produce accurate results. The majority of their clients were international travelers or those planning to have surgery in a private hospital.
As a result, using less expensive kits would not jeopardize the test’s accuracy. At 500, it was nearly impossible to perform successful RT-PCR tests unless the consistency of the reagents and processes were compromised. The order would compel laboratories to use less expensive kits, resulting in unreliable findings and, as a result, virus non-detention.
The petitioners claimed that the government lacked the authority to issue an order setting the charge at Rs. 500 and requiring labs to collect only that amount. They said that the government issued the order without consulting them and without listening to their concerns.