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PCR test provider halves price amid profiteering accusations

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Written by: Emma Lunn
14/04/2021
Randox has reduced the price of its PCR tests, which are mandatory after overseas travel, from £120 to £60.

The company claims to be the UK’s largest Covid-19 PCR test provider and says the move shows the firm’s “support for UK holidaymakers seeking trips overseas”.

The £60 PCR test is based on a testing kit ordered, online, for home sample collection with the sample returned to the laboratory for testing. The cost is inclusive of VAT and logistics.

However, the deal comes with some strings attached as the reduced price is only available to travellers on certain partner airlines. These airlines are yet to be announced.

When ordering a test, travellers will be need to apply a discount code, which can be obtained from airlines, to get the cheaper price.

The move comes just days after the government announced plans to restart international travel, potentially from 17 May. A traffic light system will categorise countries based on risk alongside the restrictions required for travel. Travellers arriving back in the UK from ‘green’ countries will need to pay for one PCR test, and those arriving from ‘amber’ countries two PCR test.

The cost of the tests has been widely criticised, with accusations that the prohibitive cost would make travel only possible for the well-off.

Dr Peter FitzGerald, Randox managing director, said: “In recognition of the needs of both the travel industry and the British public at this unprecedented time, Randox will reduce the all-inclusive cost of PCR testing for those in the UK undertaking international travel to £60 per test. We can see the pressures faced by the both the travel industry and the general public and are committed to effective and economical testing to support holidaymakers and those undertaking international travel.”

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “While it is of course good news to see a test provider reduce its costs, it’s unhelpful that this comes with strings attached in that passengers may have to book with certain airlines. More oversight of testing costs across the board is needed to ensure that testing is affordable to all who need or want to travel abroad, whoever they want to book with.

“The government should look at ways it can work with test providers to reduce the cost of mandatory testing, as many other countries have, to ensure that when international travel resumes, it is safe and affordable for all.”

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