MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) has submitted to the Office of the President a recommendation for an executive order (EO) issuance that will regulate the prices of swab tests for Covid-19, a health official said Monday.

"Napansin na natin ang (We have noticed the) differential pricing across different laboratories in the country and we also see the difference among laboratories as to how much a swab testing costs," DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual media forum.

Vergeire explained, "the EO will mandate the DOH and/or the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to cap the prices and the national agency assigned will issue details like price ceiling through administrative policies".

"Bakit ba executive order ang hinihingi natin? Kasi ngayon mayroon tayong batas, ang batas na ito, nakasaad po diyan ang price ceiling sa medicines pero hindi po nakasama diyan yung sa (Why are we requesting for an executive order? There's a law now, and this law, it contains the price ceiling for medicines but not included are the) diagnostics and for professional fees, that's what we have tried to study," she said.

"We will conduct small surveys to determine (the) price range, same as what we do with medicines, and we will consult with experts plus DTI regarding the prices," she added. (PNA