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Defensive much? Dick explains why PH Red Cross’ COVID-19 test costs P3500

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Senator Richard Gordon took great pains to explain Tuesday (May 26) why the COVID-19 tests conducted by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) costs a steep P3,500.

Gordon, who chairs the PRC, disputed reports that the non-profit organization charges P4,500 for each COVID-19 test using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method, which involves swabbing the nostrils of a patient.

“Dapat maintindihan ng tao we have to test and there’s payment because ‘yung China sinisingil tayo niyan. ‘Yung mga testing kit, sinisingil tayo niyan. Itinataas pa nga nila,” he explained.

“Gusto nila kapag bumili ka ng isang machine ngayon, bibili ka ng 20,000 to 30,000 test kits. Magkano isa ‘yun? $15 to $18. Multiply ninyo, milyun-milyong dolyar na ‘yun,” Gordon added.

Physician Minguita Padilla earlier questioned the P4,500 allegedly charged by PRC to her driver, who underwent testing for COVID-19.

Padilla said her driver was a PhilHealth member and she was incredulous to find out that he was charged for the test.

“I am actually quite intrigued or baffled by why it is the case, especially since they got an advance of a P100 million which was not hidden anyway, it was actually an open thing and there’s another P3,500 that PhilHealth allegedly pays so what is this all about? It is something we need to find out,” she said in an online forum.

Gordon said he understands PhilHealth’s predicament since it has come under fire for its COVID-19 testing package, which could go as high as P8,000.

“Alam mo, walang magaling dito eh. Ang PhilHealth nag-iingat baka mademanda sila. Iniimbestiga nga sila eh kasi sa kanilang budget, P8,000 ang gagawing test nila,” he said.

“Naiintindihan ko sila eh baka magpapa-test ulit kung magkaroon ng negative na positive later. Eh kung talagang kukurutin mo lahat ‘yan at sasabihin mo lahat ng puwedeng mangyari ay talagang wala na tayong magagawa,” the senator added.

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