As COVID-testing for travellers becomes more and more prevalent, Australians are bracing for a repeat of the British experience where a government inquiry has begun into the price and reliability of mandated PCR tests.
UK holidaymakers have raised complaints of high prices and poor service from private testing companies offering the tests that are often required before and after travel.
Accusations of profiteering are due to test providers charging up to £300 (about $560) for a single PCR test despite the average cost being set at £75 (about $140). The cost of a PCR test in France is about $100.
The high cost of PCR tests can be a barrier for UK families hoping to take a foreign holiday before schools return in September. There have also been complaints over some firms refusing to give refunds, despite failing to deliver test results on time.
Now, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is looking into the varying fees for PCR travel tests.
UK’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid has called on the CMA to stamp out the “exploitative behaviour” and “unfair practices” among the 400-plus firms which offer the tests.
Could it happen here? We found pathology labs charging $150 for COVID-19 nasal swab PCR tests (and an additional $150 for same-day turnaround) and $60 for serology tests that detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.