Covid Testing ‘Lottery’ Needs Overhaul, Warns U.K. Watchdog
(Bloomberg) -- The Covid travel testing market is a “lottery” which risks becoming a “race to the bottom” that greater competition alone won’t fix, the U.K.’s antitrust watchdog warned.
The Competition and Markets Authority has been investigating firms that offer polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for travel after concerns the market was riddled with high pricing, poor service, and failure to provide tests results on time, or in some cases, not at all.
“Buying a PCR travel test is a lottery” and “the experience for some is just not good enough,” CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said in a statement on Friday. ”A more interventionist approach to shape behavior in the market from the outset, backed up by monitoring and enforcement, is needed.”
The CMA has made a number of recommendations including that test providers’ standard of service be improved in order for them to be included on the U.K. government’s website. It also recommends that a comprehensive monitoring and enforcement program be introduced to ensure providers meet standards and punish those who don’t, the CMA said.
Last week, the agency opened a probe into one of the nation’s largest PCR testing provider, Expert Medicals, following a high number of complaints. The CMA told 19 other test providers to improve their pricing information or risk further action.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.