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Cost of COVID-19 tests to taxpayers revealed

The cost of a COVID-19 test at a pharmacy appears to be slightly cheaper than tests done at government run assessment centres.
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Our reporter Richard Southern has learned how much COVID-19 tests will cost taxpayers.

Ontario pharmacies conducting COVID-19 tests will be reimbursed $42 per test by the government, which includes a fee for patient assessment ($20) and a specimen collection fee ($22).

This appears to be slightly cheaper than tests done at government run assessment centres.

"It does have an average cost per test that is used for planning purposes," the Health Ministry tells 680 NEWS.

"The ministry uses $47.50 as the average cost per test for planning purposes; this is intended to include the cost of a swab kit and the lab processing cost. This does not include other steps in the testing process (e.g., assessment, swabbing, PPE)."

The Ontario NDP has released a statement, saying: "The Doug Ford government denied requests from our public health care system for more funding and more staff, which would have enabled them to expand testing and be ready for the second wave everyone knew was coming. Ford said no.

"But when his insider buddies running massive pharmacy corporations asked for cash, Ford said yes."

"We should make the most of the resources for testing and contract tracing -- but Ford's choice to pay extra per-test to pad the profit margins of pharmacy corporations makes no sense. We'll pay more to get fewer tests done," the NDP added.

Just over 60 Ontario pharmacies have launched COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic individuals and are being inundated with requests.

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