COVID-19 test kit: Why is Socso’s scheme pricier than mine?

A STATE assemblyman urged the Social Security Organisation (Socso) to explain why the testing kit for its COVID-19 programme is more expensive than his individual initiative, despite having a mass volume.

Bukit Gasing state lawmaker Rajiv Rishyakaran said that when he offered COVID-19 tests to the public, the cost only came up to RM70.

“And the price included doctor’s fee and test kit cost. Plus, I purchased my kit from the same supplier engaged by the Health Ministry (MOH).

“The amount I purchased was smaller in quantity than what Socso would be buying, which means they can get them for lesser price than I did.

“I can assure you that the RTK-Antigen Test kit would only be half of what they were planning to subsidise, given the quantity they will be purchasing,” he said.

Last week, Rajiv organised a COVID-19 testing campaign using the RTK-Antigen Test kit, at the discounted rate of RM70.

Currently, the same test kit costs between RM150 and RM180 at the private healthcare facilities.

“In addition, the B40 category Bukit Gasing residents, registered under the Bantuan Prihatin Negara (BPN) scheme, are able to get themselves tested at a subsidised rate of RM30 per person,” Rajiv was reported saying then.

Rajiv Rishyakaran

Training his guns against Socso, Rajiv said the latter initially announced that all 1.7 million migrant workers will receive a subsidy of RM60, for them to undergo the COVID-19 test.

However, the website today announced that Socso will only provide the test kits to selected clinics and employers will have to bear the clinic service costs.

“So the questions now is, are they subsidising lower than the amount promised, or is a ‘broker’ making a cut from this deal?” he asked.

Rajiv then urged Socso to allow more certified clinics to participate in the COVID-19 testing programme for the betterment of Malaysians.

“Not using available medical resources and choosing the ones based on self-interest is definitely not putting the people’s interest first.

“Testing only in specific clinics would mean the process will take longer than it should. If migrant workers are deemed high-risk and should be tested, then it should be done as soon as possible,” he said. – Dec 1, 2020.

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