Agreements to reduce prices for COVID-19 PCR tests confirmed as orders of the Competition Tribunal
Author: Phuti Mashalane – Senior Associate
The Competition Tribunal has confirmed as an order two separate consent agreements that the Competition Commission (the Commission) concluded with Drs Du Buisson, Kramer, Swart, Bouwer Incorporated t/a Ampath (Ampath) and Drs Mauff AC & Partners t/a Lancet Laboratories (Lancet), respectively.
This is a result of investigations by the Commission following a complaint lodged by the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) on 8 October 2021, alleging that private laboratories were charging between ZAR850-ZAR900 for a COVID-19-test. The CMS believes that these prices are high and unjustifiable because Ampath and Lancet allegedly experienced substantial cost reductions in conducting COVID-19 PCR tests.
As a result of the consent agreements, Ampath and Lancet have each agreed to curb the price for a COVID-19 PCR test to no more than ZAR500 for the next two years. An assessment by the Commission concluded that Ampath and Lancet were capable of profitably selling tests at ZAR500 (VAT inclusive).
Consequently, this will give medical schemes as well as ordinary patients significant savings in procuring these tests. It may ensure increased testing and early detection of potential clusters in the fight against COVID.
For more details on the Commission’s decision, please go to comptrib.co.za.
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