World News

Coronavirus £375 for Test

Private Clinic Defends £375 for Coronavirus Test

A private healthcare clinic in London has upheld its choice to charge £375 ($434) for a coronavirus test. The Private Harley Street Clinic said the value reflected “the costs of these logistic and clinical services that we provide” and added that it was providing free tests for NHS workers. This was stated following several newspaper allegations that the clinic had sold about a thousand tests at full price. According to its website, the test is no longer attainable. In a report published on Monday, the clinic announced it was “pausing” the service now that the UK government is going to give out more tests nationwide, with the goal of giving out 25,000 tests a day within four weeks. It is thought the test offered was produced by a company named Randox Health, which was selling them online for £120 each. Nevertheless, according to its website, it is currently out of stock. 

Exploiting Ignorance

Public Health England currently does not endorse buying home tests. It asserts there is not sufficient data about them. “It is not known whether either a positive or negative result is reliable”, states a declaration on its website. A representative for the General Medical Council announced: “We expect doctors to be clear about the safety and accuracy of Covid-19 tests, and not to offer or recommend tests that are unproven, clinically unverified and/or otherwise unreliable.” Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, affirmed the needs of NHS personnel and patients should be “put over making profit from the situation”.

 

Ad ban 

The Private Harley Street Clinic announced they never promoted its service. Google told the BBC that while it did not have a definite rule about ads for coronavirus tests, it had placed the pandemic under its “sensitive events policy”, meaning ads that “may capitalize on tragic events such as a natural disaster, conflict or death” are prohibited. Meanwhile, Facebook said that test kit advertisements were banned from their website. 

Cheaper tests 

Australian firm Rapidward announced that five days ago it started providing Covid-19 blood tests direct from China to Switzerland, Italy, and Iran at a cost of $12 apiece, including shipping. The test, which identifies antibodies, claims to be about 95% correct. It has not yet been acknowledged by the Federal Drugs Agency (FDA) in the US but it is listed with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK. The company announced it would not sell to individuals. “The kits are simple enough to be used by individuals, but we want to supply the medical industry and healthcare sector,” declared founder Milton Zhou. Mr. Zhou also remarked that he thought it was “outrageous” to charge more than the cost price. Academics at Leicester University are developing a mask-based examination that could cost just £2 per test, it announced. The mask obtains a sample of what the wearer is exhaling, which then needs laboratory analysis.

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