President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has asked the Health Ministry to lower PCR test prices through a broadcast on the Presidential Secretariat YouTube channel on Sunday 15th August.
“I spoke with the health minister about this. I asked that the cost of the PCR test be in the range of Rp450,000-550,000,” said Jokowi.
With this price range, Jokowi also asked that the results of the PCR test be released no later than 24 hours later. This, said Jokowi, is related to accelerating the handling of COVID-19 by strengthening test capacity.
According to a circular issued by the Health Ministry in October 2020, the upper limit price for PCR tests in Indonesia is Rp900,000. Director of Prevention and Control of Directly Infectious Diseases of the Health Ministry Siti Nadia Tarmizi said that the execution of the reduction in the price of PCR tests would take effect immediately.
“God willing, as soon as possible,” said Nadia.
Nadia said the reason for the previous high price of a PCR test was because the test kits and raw materials were still being imported. Therefore, the Health Ministry plans to use several options for reagents which are in an open system.
“You can use several choices of reagents that are open-system in nature. The price of PCR examination reagents also varies,” said Nadia.
An open-system PCR machine is a machine that can be used to detect various reactions. When using this system, there is no need for a BSL 3 laboratory. However, the results will still be accurate.
To detect COVID-19 infection, laboratory tests are needed using the molecular detection method/nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) such as the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) examination, and costs include consumables and reagents, administrative expenses, and other components.