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UK Regulator To Investigate Pricing Of Covid Tests For Travel

 |  August 8, 2021

UK’s competition watchdog is looking into fees for the COVID-19 tests required for international travel after concerns about the vastly different prices being charged for them.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will provide advice and intelligence on the market in PCR tests to the health secretary, Sajid Javid, to enable the government to act.

This route is being taken because a formal investigation, which could lead to criminal action, would take months to complete, so that its impact would come long after the key holiday season.

PCR tests are needed to travel to some overseas holiday destinations and on return from amber- and green-list countries.

Similar tests for day 2 and 8 after return to England listed on the government’s website can cost more than £300 or as little as £20. On average, prices in the UK are £75, compared with about £40 in France and Greece.

Javid wrote to the CMA on Friday, August 6, asking the body to help stamp out “exploitative behaviour” and “unfair practices” among the 400-plus firms which offer the tests and he said the government was determined to take action.

“The cost of PCR testing can act as a barrier, especially for families who want to travel together,” 
Javid wrote in a letter to Dr Andrea Coscelli, CMA chief executive, first reported by The Sunday Times.

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