Pathcare, Lancet, Ampath agree to drop prices for COVID rapid antigen tests

The Competition Commission said that the price reduction shall remain in effect for a period of two years from the date of confirmation of the consent agreements as ordered by the Competition Tribunal.

FILE: A view of a used rapid antigen test for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) with negative result at a testing centre in a metro station in Moscow on 11 November 2021. Picture: Natalia Kolesnikova /AFP

JOHANNESBURG - There has been general agreement between South Africa’s three largest private pathology groups to a price reduction of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to no more than R150 inclusive of VAT with immediate effect.

The Competition Commission has announced the agreement between Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath.

The Competition Commission said that the price reduction shall remain in effect for a period of two years from the date of confirmation of the consent agreements as ordered by the Competition Tribunal.

Commission spokesperson Siyabulela Makunga: "In terms of the agreement, the three laboratories have also undertaken to submit to the commission a compliance report that will include financial statements every three months so as to monitor prices charged to consumers and customers."

This is a second successive price reduction settlement that the commission has concluded with the three private laboratory groups in less than 14 days.

But the commission also said that it was currently pursuing an investigation against Dis-Chem.

The commission’s investigation follows a complaint lodged by the Health Department about service providers and pricing.