HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health (MoH) should soon issue a circular stipulating the price of COVID-19 testing services, ensuring it is practical and easy to implement.
That is the request of Deputy Prime Minister Lê Minh Khái at a meeting on Thursday afternoon on the management of prices of medical supplies and services, especially the price of COVID-19 testing services.
He stated that MoH and localities had applied regulations to ensure medical supplies, tests, and biological products, to fight the pandemic.
However, the issuance of circulation registration and import permits of medical supplies were affected due to urgent requirements on pandemic prevention and control, changes in service prices following market developments and the large number of importers.
In addition, due to the focus on fighting the pandemic, MoH had not yet provided information, leading to different understandings, he said.
The ministry needed to simplify the procedures for import licensing and circulation registration; create the most favourable conditions for the production, import and trading of test kits; and ensure enough medical supplies for the proposed anti-pandemic work.
The deputy prime minister also asked MoH and the Ministry of Finance to study measures to manage prices, ensuring transparency and strengthen inspection and examination of price forming factors.
MoH has so far licensed 127 biological products for COVID-19 testing, including home-grown products and imported products from the US, Germany, France, Finland, China, Turkey, Malaysia and Singapore. The ministry is also evaluating and granting licences to other test kits.
Eighty-four enterprises had reported their supply and prices for 186 types of test kits, the ministry said.
A representative of the MoH said that the price of testing services had depended on many market factors, such as the countries of origin, time of ordering and quantity.
The price of test kits made in Asian countries is cheaper than those made in Europe and the US, according to MoH.
At the meeting, the agencies requested MoH to regularly update guidelines and adjust testing methods to safely adapt to the pandemic and restore production.
They suggested to allow businesses to buy quick tests and self-test employees.
Representatives of agencies also acknowledged the efforts of the MoH in publicising and providing transparent information on the Portal of the Ministry of Health and suggested that the ministry continue to innovate the form of information disclosure, making it easier for people and businesses to understand, apply and access.
Prime Minister request
Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has asked for strengthened management over the purchase of medical supplies and equipment.
The request was sent to ministries, provincial and city people’s committees, as well as steering committees for COVID-19 prevention and control, to improve the effectiveness of pandemic prevention and control activities.
The Government Office's Official Dispatch No. 7668 dated October 20, 2021 says that the Government has issued many resolutions, while the Prime Minister has directed and requested ministries, authorities of localities and agencies to strictly comply with regulations on buying and using medical equipment, biological products for testing, drugs and vaccines to prevent and combat the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring effectiveness and avoiding waste and losses.
The Prime Minister has requested ministries, Government's agencies, people’s committees of provinces and cities to be proactive in mobilising capital sources and effectively using financial resources, and have specific plans to purchase equipment, biological products for testing, vaccines and drugs to effectively serve pandemic prevention and control activities.
Localities were ready to respond to any possible COVID-19 outbreaks in the area, prevent the disease from spreading on a large scale, and recover socio-economic development.
The purchase of medical supplies must comply with the Government’s Resolution 128 (which provides temporary guidance on safe adaptation, flexibility and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic) and relevant legal regulations on strict management and bidding, to ensure publicity, transparency and efficiency, according to the Official Dispatch
MoH has set up an inspection team to work with a number of localities to clarify and deal with the inconsistency in prices of test kits and testing service, according to Đỗ Xuân Tuyên, deputy minister of health. — VNS
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