One of the main commitments of the Kosovo Competition Authority in recent weeks has been to monitor the conduct of laboratories licensed by the Ministry of Health to provide testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. More specifically, the KCA was focused on ensuring that the operators of this market would not violate the Law on Protection of Competition by making any prohibited agreements, coordinated practices or abusive behavior.
Since we started the monitoring process, the KCA has requested and collected detailed data from state institutions and licensed laboratories, including the price of importing the material, the price of providing the service and other data. In this case, we would like to emphasize that KCA has enjoyed good cooperation with responsible institutions and laboratories.
From the information we have gathered, we conclude that there are currently a total of 119 licensed laboratories for the provision of serological testing as well as three licensed laboratories for the provision of molecular PCR tests. Currently two of the laboratories for molecular PCR testing are operating, while the other operator is in preparation and within a short time will start offering this
This means that for the performance of both tests, there is already a liberalized market, where citizens can choose the most suitable operator to provide the service. The prices of these services are transparent and vary for serological tests from 15 to 40 Euros, while for molecular ones from 65 Euros. Thus, the Competition Authority in determining the product market has found that there is substitutability of the product or service.
Demand substitutability is the most direct and efficient factor that limits the independent behavior of enterprises in the market. The enterprise can not significantly affect prices if consumers can easily switch to replacement products.
We would also like to emphasize that KCA has followed with increased interest the debate raised in public opinion regarding the price of 200 euros for the PCR test offered by one of the licensed laboratories. As soon as we were informed about this by the media, we requested additional information and documentation from the laboratory in question and we realized that it is about rapid molecular testing Assay Method.
This is an advanced form of RT-PCR molecular testing, which gives the same result, the same evaluation and the same characteristics as RT-PCR molecular testing, but the peculiarity of this testing is that it gives the result in the shortest time, for less than 2 hours.However, it must be said that in the same laboratory, citizens were able to choose the RT-PCR test, which detects the virus within a longer time, but which costs 65 Euros. In fact, from the analysis of the data, we find that in the laboratory in question 99.7 percent of PCR tests were performed with the RT-PCR method (which costs 65 euros) and the rest with the rapid molecular testing method - Assay Method, so only 4 tests in the amount of 200 euros or (0.3%).
Of course, KCA will continue to monitor this market and as in previous weeks, will inform the media and public opinion about any findings from the monitoring of this market