In spite of a state government order last year, which categorically states that no laboratory can charge more than Rs 600 to conduct dengue tests, laboratories across the city continue to flout the diktat.
Even a report in this paper had alerted readers to the GR. So, if you have paid more than that – in the vicinity of Rs 800 to Rs 2,000 – for the NS1 and MAC ELISA tests, it is evident the laboratory has cheated you.
A number of labs are guilty of this, but many patients pay up, simply because they are ignorant of the order. There is also the fact that labs themselves say the order has gray areas because it does not include tests that have to be conducted post the initial tests. These avoidances show a marked confusion, or the ability of the labs to shield themselves while exploiting a loophole, whichever way you choose to look at it.
When the government issues an order, it must be absolutely lucid and clear. It cannot be open to different interpretations so that labs are free to read into it any way they desire. All bases have to be covered. Only when it is completely watertight, well worded, and clearly explained with no room for ambiguity should it be made into an order.
Then, of course, is the fact that people must be made aware of the order. This means prominent placements at strategic locations, making government hospitals put up posters and instructing the labs too, to put up this notice on boards. What we see here is an order that has lost its efficacy because there was no clear communication.
Laboratories need to adhere to stipulations and if they think there is a gray area, approach the accredited body for clarity. It is a shame that orders designed to help the public, slip through the cracks because care has not been taken to ensure it is watertight in its intention.
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