Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has announced that the government has set a lower ceiling price for the COVID-19 rapid test kits. Previously priced at RM39.90, the self-test kits will be capped at RM19.90 each, which is 50% cheaper. The ceiling price for wholesale will be capped at RM16. The new ceiling price will take into effect from 5th September 2021.
According to Khairy’s tweet, the Government is also looking at bulk purchase options which will help to bring the price down further. On top of that, they are also looking at providing free kits for B40 families.
We have set the ceiling price for COVID rapid test kits at RM19.90 for retail and RM16 for wholesale. We will also be exploring bulk purchase options to drive the price down further & also look at providing free kits for B40 families. @KKMPutrajaya @kpdnhep— Khairy Jamaluddin 🇲🇾🌺 (@Khairykj) September 2, 2021
As of 30th August 2021, the Medical Device Authority has approved a total of 14 Antigen Rapid Test Kits (RTK-Ag) for Malaysia. The tests are considered less invasive than a RT-PCR test and it uses either saliva, nasal swab, or both. Among the first test kits to get approved is Salixium, Malaysian-made and it uses both Saliva and Nasab Swap samples. After completing the test, they must share their results in the MySejahtera app truthfully.
Do note that the rapid tests are used for instant screening and there’s a risk of producing a false-negative if the sample wasn’t taken properly. RT-PCR test at clinics and health habs is still recommended in order to get a confirmatory test result. An RT-PCR test costs about RM180-220 and it might take 24 hours to get the result. An RTK-Ag test can be used as a confirmatory test in certain circumstances where there are confirmed COVID-19 clusters or outbreaks in areas that have been identified by the National Crisis Preparedness Response Centre (CPRC).
As Malaysia starts to reopen more economic sectors, regular testing is seen as one of the key methods in managing the pandemic. When sales started in late July, the rapid test kits were selling quickly and they were mostly purchased by employers to screen their workforce.
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