COVID-19: Sajid Javid asks competition watchdog for rapid review of ‘excessive’ cost of PCR testing

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COVID-19: Sajid Javid asks competition watchdog for rapid review of ‘excessive’ cost of PCR testing


The Health Secretary has asked the competition watchdog to investigate the PCR testing market amid concerns about “operating practices” and vastly different costs.

Sajid Javid wrote to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) requesting a “rapid high-level” review to protect travelers.

PCR tests, which use a swab to detect coronavirus on the tonsils and inside the nose, usually costs around £ 75.

However, travelers have complained about significant differences in price and service levels from the more than 400 companies that offer the tests.

“The cost of PCR testing can be a barrier, especially for families who wish to travel together,” Mr. Javid said in his letter to CMA Director General Andrea Coscelli.

“It is not fair that some families are still suffering further disruption unnecessarily due to practices in the private travel testing market. “

The letter continued, “It is for these reasons that I am writing to urge you to conduct a rapid, high-level review of the PCR travel testing market to assess what steps could be taken to ensure that consumers do not. are not faced with unnecessarily high problems. fee or other improper disposition.

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Mr Javid said people shouldn’t have to worry about “excessive fees for PCR tests”

He asked the AMC for immediate advice on how to “stop exploitative behavior in this market” ahead of an investigation and urged the watchdog to “take steps to prevent such exploitation where you are. can under your existing powers ”.

The health secretary also tweeted: “People should be able to go on vacation, whether to see family or just to relax, without worrying about excessive fees for PCR tests. “

A spokesperson for AMC told Sky News: “We are aware of the concerns about the evolution of the COVID-19[feminine[feminine tests for international travelers.

“We look forward to providing the Secretary of State with advice on how best to ensure travelers have access to affordable and reliable testing. “

A list of companies and clinics offering COVID testing is released by the government, but many have reportedly not achieved full accreditation.

Some MPs and travel agencies are pressuring ministers to abandon expensive testing and instead use the cheaper lateral flow testing.

Conservative MP Huw Merriman told BBC Radio 4’s PM program that the lateral flow tests were “much cheaper”.

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He added, “It’s effective, and then if this test is positive for COVID – and very few do when they come back from overseas to this country – then do a PCR and then do this sequencing.

He added, “And the reason I’m saying this is that lateral flow testing can cost a third of the price. ”

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