CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan producer to cut prices for COVID rapid test kits

04/24/2022 05:18 PM
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Taipei, April 24 (CNA) The price of one type of domestically produced rapid COVID-19 antigen test kit will be reduced from NT$300 (US$10.23) to NT$200 or even lower as part of a pack of five starting Monday, in a first round of price cuts announced by manufacturer TaiDoc Technology Corp. Sunday.

The price of TaiDoc's FORA/VTRUST antigen rapid tests will be lowered from NT$300 to NT$200 per kit from Monday, while the average price per kit in a pack of five will fall from NT$300 to NT$195, the company said in a statement posted on its official website.

TaiDoc had previously announced the first round of price cuts starting April 25 (Monday) from NT$300 to NT$230 for a single kit and NT$300 to NT$220 for per kit in a pack of five, but announced deeper price cuts on Sunday after negotiations with local distributors.

In the second round of cuts scheduled to be rolled out May 5, the price of a single kit will remain at NT$200, while the per kit price in a pack of five will fall to NT$190, according to the company.

The third round of cuts set to take effect May 25 will see consumers pay NT$180 for a single kit and NT$170 per kit in a pack of five, according to the statement.

A Watsons store in Taipei displays a message at the entrance that says rapid test kits are sold out, on Thursday. CNA photo April 21, 2022

TaiDoc said that in order to expand its COVID-19 rapid test kit production capacity in response to skyrocketing demand due to the spread of local COVID-19 cases, it will partially suspend production of other products for a week.

From April 23 the company started supplying 200,000-300,000 rapid test kits per day, with the aim of offering about 2 million kits in the coming week, according to the statement.

The rapid at-home test kits are available at 7-Eleven convenience stores, Cosmed and Watsons retail chain stores, as well as drugstore and pharmacy chains, including Med First, Wellcare, Great Tree and Yes Chain.

The company announced the price cuts amid complaints over the high price of rapid COVID-19 antigen tests as the government considers using rapid tests instead of home isolation for people who come into contact with those who test positive for COVID-19.

The government also plans to launch an at-home COVID-19 test kit rationing scheme similar to one for rationing of surgical masks introduced in February 2020.

As part of the rationing initiative, the government will requisition 31 million kits by the end of July from five domestic manufacturers -- Taidoc Technology Corp., Panion & BF Biotech Inc., Formosa Biomedical Technology Corp., Excelsior Bio-System Inc., and Enimmune Corp. In addition, the government will also acquire 100 million test kits from foreign firms.

The figures do not include imported cases reclassified as domestic ones, nor retroactively removed cases. As of April 24, Taiwan recorded 31,402 domestic cases in 2022, while the total number of imported cases rose to 10,349 from 2,375 on Dec. 31, 2021.

On Sunday, Taiwan reported 5,092 domestically transmitted infections and 80 cases that were contracted abroad, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

As of Sunday, Taiwan has confirmed 56,468 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in early 2020, including 46,065 domestically transmitted infections, CECC data showed.

(By Jeffrey Wu and Evelyn Kao)


> Chinese Version


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