Cheaper Covid-19 self-test kits by year end

Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi (left) checks the ceiling price of self-test kits sold at Shine pharmacy. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: The ceiling price for the Covid-19 self-test kits will be further lowered before the end of the year, said Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi.

The Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) said the lowering of the ceiling price was to provide easier access to the self-test kits.

“The Covid-19 self-test kits will become a necessity item, like the face masks. As we move forward in the National Recovery Plan (NRP) with the people’s health and safety our priority, these Covid-19 self-test kits are of paramount importance. 

“I appreciate that the stakeholders such as the pharmacies and suppliers are giving good cooperation to the government and ministry on this matter. It shows that all are caring and attentive towards the people’s wellbeing.” 

He said this to the media during a visit to check on the prices of Covid-19 self-test kits at Shine Pharmacy in The Spring Shopping Mall here on Sunday (Sept 5).

Nanta pointed out the measure would improve the existing standard operating procedure (SOP) for businesses once the Covid-19 became endemic.

“As one of the necessity items in the future and with the reopening of the economy, we must intensify the efforts to ensure that the Covid-19 self-test kits are readily available.

“With the upcoming reopening of schools, I am sure the Covid-19 self-test kits will be utilised by our school students as well,” he said.

The minister said that the government was considering expanding the distribution of the test kit beyond pharmacies.

“Currently, people now can only purchase the certified Covid-19 self-test kits at the registered pharmacies because the kits are controlled items under the Medical Device Authority (MDA) Malaysia.

“So, we are now studying on how we can ensure the test kits are available for everyone, especially those who live in the rural areas. For example, like small grocery shops in the village. But of course, there are terms and conditions for the sellers, but the purpose is to make these Covid-19 self-test kits easy to access and purchase for the people.

“There are currently 16 brands which have been approved by the MDA, but Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin recently said that he wants to double the number of brands so that there is competition. When there are many options, the price will be cheaper and more people can afford it,” he said

He also said that the ministry was upping its efforts to widen the accessibility of the Covid-19 self-test kits especially in the rural areas.