Congress leader Dr Udit Raj on Sunday took to Twitter to claim that as many as 17 companies in India were ready to provide coronavirus testing kits for as low as Rs 500 but PM Modi gave the contract to one Gujarat-based company for Rs 4,500 per kit.
However, on Monday, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) called out Raj’s fake news and said that the price ranged approved by ICMR for PT-PCR is Rs 740-1150 while it is Rs 528-795 for rapid test kits.
This is Fake News. Price range approved by ICMR is ₹740-1150 for RT-PCR and ₹528-795 for Rapid Test. No test has been procured at ₹4500. Any Indian company wanting to supply at lower rates is welcome to contact ICMR or Ms Anu Nagar, JS Health Research(011-23736222).— ICMR (@ICMRDELHI) April 27, 2020
The ICMR clarified that no test kit has been procured at Rs 4,500 and that if any Indian company wishes to supply the kits at a lower rate is welcomed.
Misinformation and falsehood regarding ICMR
Earlier this month, the ICMR had refuted the media claims that the Modi government did not consult experts before extending the nationwide lockdown till May 3 to contain the spread of Chinese coronavirus. Quoting anonymous member of the COVID-19 Task Force, the Caravan Magazine had claimed that the committee hadn’t met all of last week ahead of announcement of lockdown extension. Citing another nameless member of the Task Force, Caravan made further claims that the Task Force was also not kept in the loop of the developments.
Speaking to OpIndia, Vinod Paul, NITI Aayog Member and Chairman of the Task Force, said, “India’s scientific and health experts are playing an important role in the fight against COVID-19. The task force is leveraging the best minds and playing a leading role in decision making. In addition, I’m regularly briefing the PM and getting his inputs. The attempts to invoke sensationalism and create fissures where none exists are unfortunate. Such efforts by a media outlet damage our national endeavour to fight this pandemic.”