The cost of molecular PCR tests for Covid-19 in private laboratories and clinics will be capped at € 47 from Thursday, January 6, the Ministry of Development said on Tuesday. Doctors said this would worsen the quality of the tests.
The restriction was imposed after strong pressure from Greek residents on social media, as well as from opposition parties who demanded free PCR tests.
The ministry’s decision states that the maximum cost of services (sample analysis, etc.), including the necessary reagents and consumables, will be 35 euros, and the maximum fee for sampling in private diagnostic laboratories and clinics is 12 euros. The limitation does not apply to tests in which a sample is taken outside the laboratory or clinic.
PCR tests are currently available for 60 euros, although they are somewhat cheaper in some laboratories outside urban centers.
However, there are private medical centers or hospitals where such tests can be done for 80–100 euros, and even 120 euros if the test needs to be done at home. At a test cost of € 60, the results are reportedly 48 hours later, compared to 36 hours in late spring and 8 hours in September.
Delays in obtaining results pose huge problems for employees who need PCR confirmation to stay on paid leave or while waiting to travel, as the registration system does not accept a positive rapid test result.
But Greece is Greece, and it will always support the glorious Greek struggle in order to squeeze the last penny out of the pockets of ordinary people.
The Greek Medical Association (PIS) has gone so far as to say that further price reductions for molecular PCR tests for Covid-19 could jeopardize their reliability.
“Further price reduction may lead to a decrease in the quality of services provided. At the same time, it will deprive this service of an area where there are only small laboratories and not large suppliers, since they will not be able to afford the cost of PCR tests and will be forced to stop conducting them, ” message PIS.
PIS added that the current price in our country is at the EU average and therefore covers the costs of diagnostic laboratories and clinics. In countries such as Cyprus, the cost of PCR is 20-25 euros, in some other European countries, such as Belgium, it is 40 euros.
Despite the fact that the price for PCR is still 60 euros, and for Rapid – 10 euros, the Greeks have been spending hours in queues outside public and private institutions and pharmacies for the third day.