Tribune News Service
Patiala, January 20
The Health Department has issued notice to a private lab for allegedly overcharging for the Covid RT-PCR test after an inquiry. After verifying complaints of overcharging, the district epidemiologist himself called the lab representative, who allegedly had been accused of demanding Rs1,800 for sample collection from home for test.
In the notice to Atulaya Healthcare, the Health Department stated that the lab was violating the norms of capping the price of the RT-PCR test. Notably, the state government has capped the price for the RT-PCR lab test at Rs900 for private labs. The department further claimed that they (department) were not being informed about how many patients from Patiala had been tested, which was mandatory condition for a private lab.
Representatives of the lab had already admitted overcharging for the test, the Health Department added. Meanwhile, the Civil Surgeon has sought an explanation from the lab in this regard. “Why shouldn’t this case be reported to the police and appropriate action be taken against your lab,” the Civil Surgeon added.
The Patiala Civil Surgeon, Dr Satinder Singh, said they had already issued a notice to the lab after verifying complaints and conducting an inquiry. “As no one can violate the government guidelines, a notice, therefore, has been issued to Atulya Lab,” the Civil Surgeon added.
When contacted, Anuj Gupta, director, Atulaya Lab, said, “We ourselves do not directly collect samples. We are not responsible if our franchisee is overcharging. In fact, we charge from our franchisee below the government rate.” On the charge of collecting samples for Covid testing without authorisation from the district authorities, Gupta said they would give reply to the notice. He clarified that their lab had permission for Covid testing for entire Punjab.
The state nodal officer, Dr Rajesh Bhasker, said, “The lab is supposed to take local login ID for testing samples of the district concerned. The said lab didn’t do so. As the price cap for RT- PCR test is Rs900, therefore, notice has been issued to lab.”
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