Minister: RM19.90 price cap on Covid-19 self-test kits was not done hastily

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Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said the ministry took about a month and had engaged and consulted with local industry players, relevant agencies and manufacturers, among others before deciding on the ceiling price. — Bernama pic
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said the ministry took about a month and had engaged and consulted with local industry players, relevant agencies and manufacturers, among others before deciding on the ceiling price. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said the decision to set a ceiling price for the Covid-19 self-test kits was not done in a hurry.

In a statement last night, he said the ministry took about a month and had engaged and consulted with local industry players, relevant agencies and manufacturers, among others before deciding on the ceiling price.

“I would really appreciate it if Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS) could be more rational and realistic with the current situation where the self-testing equipment is a sensitive item in terms of price and supply to the people. Self-testing tools need to be controlled in the interest of the well-being of the people and the country during the pandemic,” he said.

The wholesale price for Covid-19 self-test kits was fixed at RM16 a unit and the retail price at RM19.90 a unit and set under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 (AKHAP 2011) and Control of Supplies Act 1961.

It will take effect from September 5.

On Thursday, MPS president Amrahi Buang said pharmacists were in support of price controls for Covid-19 self-test kits but criticised the manner that the ministry made the announcement calling it “sudden” and wondered why a grace period wasn’t given to industry players to clear existing stock.

He said that in the absence of a grace period, the ministry must allow pharmacies to return stock that was purchased at higher prices or get suppliers to subsidise the cost.

Alexander said the ministry had also visited and monitored 2,333 relevant pharmacies including community pharmacies in the country and given the notice under AKHAP 2011 to get more information about the price and cost involved for the products.

“The final decision for the maximum price under AKHAP 2011 is based on the checks and analysis to the companies involved. It is determined as fair as the seller could still get profit from the wholesale and retail level,” he said.

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