As Mumbai saw a slight increase in H1N1 (swine flu) cases in July, the demand for tests increased and hence rates need to be regulated.
The cost of a single dose is between 4000-5000 in Mumbai. This is an additional burden on families as more than one family member needs to be tested, according to a report by Times of India.
City officials have raised the case for price regulation with the current state government, but in the health minister’s absence, the order has not even been sanctioned for review.
“With limited public utilities offering testing in the city, there needs to be some movement toward restricting H1N1 prices,” said a senior official who wished to remain anonymous. TOI.
H1N1 cases in India have been on the rise this year, with 105 infections so far, nearly fivefold since last year. Mumbai has reported 66 cases this year, of which 62 were reported in July itself.
However, doctors cautioned that the official figures do not reflect reality due to limited testing because many public hospitals do not offer the tests and private hospitals charge high prices.
With flu-like symptoms, many people think they have mild Covid-19 and don’t get tested for H1N1. Doctors stressed the need to test him if he tested negative for Covid.
A state official said that when H1N1 appeared in 2009, the tests cost 5,000 rupees but now that more facilities are offering it, the cost has come down. In 2015, when the country saw a rise in the number of cases, the Director General of Health told that tests should not be allowed to exceed 2,500 rupees, but this was not the case.
Many labs claim that the costs of reagents, kits, and manpower do not allow them to offer tests at lower prices. “Covid testing rates have dropped from Rs 4,500 to Rs 500 as the cost of reagents and other items has also been determined,” the head of the lab told TOI. Dr. Ulhas Vaidya of Vaidya Labs said higher demand will lead to lower prices.
Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) announced a free test in July to detect cases of swine flu, but a doctor’s recommendation for testing is needed.
Katurba Hospital in the public sector also offers free tests but only for patients with severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, hypotension and nail discoloration.
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