Covid PCR travel tests a “predictable scam”, according to the ex-president of the watchdog of the competition Business News

Covid PCR testing for travel has become a “predictable scam,” warned the former president of a competition watchdog.

Lord Tyrie, former chairman of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and unaffiliated peer, called for a crackdown on companies selling at inflated prices.

Under Covid rules, travelers are advised to take tests upon returning from certain countries, as indicated in the government’s traffic light system.

On average, these cost around £ 75 and the government has a list of licensed private providers on their website.

But some companies charge much higher prices than that, with customers complaining about poor service.

Lord Tyrie said the CMA, which he left last year, should have been better prepared for the scenario following a price gouging from sellers of hygiene products at the start of the pandemic.

“He (the CMA) should either act directly already using existing powers,” Lord Tyria told the BBC.

“Or if he is found to be inadequate for the job, he should advise the government on how to get a swift remedy, whether through legislation or other means,” he added.

“This advice should already be with the government.”

His comments come just days after Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, announced that the cost of NHS testing for international travel would be reduced from £ 88 to £ 68.

The cost of two tests has also been reduced from £ 170 to £ 136.

The new prices do not apply to vacationers who choose to travel to Red List countries or to those who have purchased from a private company.

The CMA said, “The cost of PCR testing is an urgent issue. We have advised the government on options to address concerns about the price and reliability of PCR tests and the quality of service providers receive.

“We continue to work closely with [Department of Health] in order to identify the structural problems of the PCR tests market and the solutions to be provided.

“We will also not hesitate to take enforcement action ourselves when we find evidence that PCR providers may violate consumer law.”

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This notice was published: 2021-08-17 10:06:29

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