Jamaica’s COVID-19 testing has become a source of riches for many local private doctors, some of whom are charging thousands of local dollars for a single test, with some even operating without certification from the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC).
A single antigen test costs upwards of J$7,000 (KY$38) and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is far more expensive. Jamaica has a huge problem with the virus spreading as well as scepticism over taking the vaccine. Affordability of testing exacerbates the problem.
One medical doctor conducting testing revealed that there is the prevailing practice of several approved labs selling tests to unapproved labs. In return, the unapproved labs state that they are affiliated with the approved lab and a percentage of each test is reportedly given to the approved labs as part of the deal.
The doctor went on to explain that labs purchase the kits for J$47,000 (KY$260) and resell to the unapproved labs for a huge mark-up. From there, additional mark-ups are applied to the cost of testing, which ultimately ends up with being passed on to customers.