Sarawak MP urges Putrajaya to reduce retail price of Covid-19 self-test kits | Malaysia

The JusChek Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Self-Test Kits go on sale at a Shah Alam pharmacy on September 2, 2021. – Photo by Yusof Mat Isa

KUCHING, September 2 – Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii today urged the Ministry of Home Trade and Consumer Affairs to reduce the retail price of Covid-19 self-test kits to make them more accessible to the public.

He said the capped price of RM 19.90 for retail is too high and seen as unaffordable for many segments of the company, including the B40 and lower M40, especially if there are many family members who need to be checked frequently.

“I urge the government to take an additional step to subsidize the price of the Covid-19 self-test kit to make it affordable and accessible to the general public, as we are helping the public to accept it as part of the new normal. , especially since one of the important steps to gradually reopen our economy in a safe and sustainable way, ”he said in a statement.

He said the subsidized prices will also help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) integrate it into their general SOPs to reduce outbreaks in workplace clusters.

Yii said SMEs are already struggling due to the sluggish economy and the government should seek to alleviate some of their burden while encouraging safe practices among them to create a culture of frequent testing to ensure that the economy continues to function.

“The government should consider reducing red tape and bureaucracy when it comes to approving self-test kits that meet the necessary requirements.

“When there are more brands in the market, it will encourage competition in the market which will drive down the price when ordered wholesale, especially when demand increases as the government cultivates a culture of testing throughout the community.” .

“From there, the government can consider subsidizing it more to make it even below RM 10 to make it affordable and accessible,” he said.

However, he said, it is then important that the government properly regulates these test kits to ensure their effectiveness and enforce the necessary measures to ensure that those sold in the market are genuine and approved by Malaysian Medical. Device Authority (MDA).

He added that currently many multiple “bogus” reports are sold online or even those that are not approved, which can be questionable.

“This is the new normal that we need to transition to, and the government needs to provide an enabling environment for that to happen,” he said.

Earlier today, Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi and Minister of Health Khairy Jamaluddin, in a joint statement, announced a ceiling price of RM19.90 for self-test kits. Covid-19 in retail stores from September 5.

The announcement also capped the wholesale price of the kits at RM16.

“The demand for rapid test kits is expected to increase following increased public awareness of self-assessment to ensure they are not infected.

“The wholesale and retail ceiling price for Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kits (Self-test) is determined on the basis of suitability and suitability for more efficient application to ensure reasonable prices and the availability of supplies in the market for the benefit of consumers and traders, ”Nanta Linggi said.

Nanta said the decision was based on information gathered from price observations at all pharmacies across the country and comments obtained from the Health Ministry’s Medical Devices Authority, Customs Department and discussions with sellers and importers.

He added that his ministry expects competition to further stabilize selling prices, similar to current face mask prices.

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