KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — The move to reduce the ceiling price of COVID-19 self-test kits should be expedited as the use of the health device will be part of the country’s essential needs heading into the endemic phase, said Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
Lee said the price reduction was important to help the B40 and M40 groups as the testing process would be one of the main conditions for various affairs and activities.
“The price of the kit should not be more than RM10. I think this test kit should be given out for free, as after we have entered the endemic phase, it means tests should be done more frequently, for example, twice a week to assess the health aspects of an individual.
“Test kits are the new norm, but if the government cannot afford (to give them for free), we should provide test kits at a minimum price so that people are able to buy them to do the tests. This is considered self-control to protect themselves and all,” he told Bernama today.
Lee said to help educate the people on usage of the kit, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry (KKMM) in collaboration with other agencies should disseminate community service messages on the procedure for using the test kit.
Apart from that, he said manufacturers and producers also need to provide usage instructions in various languages for the convenience of consumers, especially the elderly.
“It is better for the government, through KKMM and other departments, to display (these instructions) from time to time and make more public announcements. These can be aired on television. TV is important (medium) because many people watch it and (these instructions) can be featured in a minute or two.
“Manufacturers must also be responsible for explaining how to use it and this needs to be explained in multiple languages,” he added.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Pharmacists Society president Amrahi Buang said if the government wanted to lower the ceiling price of self-test kits, the society needed to be notified at least two weeks before the implementation date to facilitate matters with manufacturers and importers.
He said negotiations to lower the price of the health device should have been done from the very beginning when the test kit was first introduced.
“Basically, it would be good if it can be lowered, but the government needs to make a policy for producers and importers. However, we have to be fair too because if it (price) is too low, there will be no return on investment; therefore, who wants to import?” he added.