Centre asks states to cap dengue test costs

New Delhi: Following media reports that private laboratories and hospitals were overcharging patients for dengue tests, the Union Health Ministry has issued an advisory to all states to cap the cost of dengue diagnostic tests in private hospitals at Rs 600. The information was given by Minister of State for Health Faggan Singh Kulaste in a written reply to the Lok Sabha on Friday. "To regulate the cost of diagnosis of dengue by the private laboratories and some hospitals, government has taken action by issuing advisory to all states and UTs on July 5, 2016 for capping the cost of dengue diagnostic tests in the private sector/hospitals to not more than Rs 600 per test," Kulaste said. On July 29, Health Minister J.P. Nadda told the Lok Sabha that there were 21 deaths due to dengue till July 24, and 70 people died on account of Japanese Encephalitis, in addition to 57 people succumbing to malaria. Nadda also said eight advisories were issued to states since January. In another written reply, Nadda informed the lower house that committees have been set up to facilitate filling up of vacancies in the six new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He said the AIIMS at Jodhpur, Rishikesh, Bhopal, Patna, Bhubaneshwar and Raipur have been advised to fill up posts. All the new AIIMS have been providing quality treatment and services to patients, he said.