Filipinos warned against unaccredited laboratories offering PCR testing

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 13 2020 04:59 PM

Healthworkers conduct their routine swab testing for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on their fellow hospital employees at the Sta. Ana Hospital in Manila on April 14, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health on Monday reminded the public that only government-accredited laboratories are allowed to run polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for COVID-19.

“Pinagbibigay alam sa lahat na kinakailangan ng lisensya mula sa DOH ang anumang laboratoryo o pasilidad upang makasagawa ng COVID-19 testing," the DOH posted on social media.

"Ang pagsasagawa ng COVID-19 Testing na walang lisensya mula sa DOH ay pinagbabawal at mapanganib.”

(We are informing everyone that laboratories or facilities need a license from the DOH to run COVID-19 testing. COVID-19 testing without a DOH license is prohibited and dangerous.)

The agency said Clearbridge Medical Philippines, which claimed that it conducted PCR tests, is not among 85 accredited laboratories for COVID-19 testing in the country.

“Ang Clearbridge Medical Philippines ay hindi lisensyado ng DOH at sa kasalukuyan ay walang aplikasyon para maging isang lisensyadong COVID-19 laboratory,” it said.

(Clearbridge Medical Philippines is not licensed by DOH and has not applied to be licensed as a COVID-19 laboratory.)

 

A few hours after the DOH advisory, Clearbridge Medical Philippines issued the following statement: “In relation to the post reflected on DOH’s social media pages today, we would like to sincerely apologize for the misinterpretation of our RT-PCR Swab Testing post that had failed to mention that we are in partnership with Safeguard DNA Diagnostics Inc., a DOH Licensed COVID-19 Testing Laboratory."

It added that even the collection of specimen is performed by licensed professionals from Safeguard DNA Diagnostics Inc.

“With the goal to help control the spread of the pandemic by expanding COVID-19 testing, Clearbridge Medical Philippines serves as one of the specimen collection hubs of Safeguard DNA Diagnostics, Inc. that facilitate coordination with patients who wish to undergo RT-PCR (Swab) Testing,” it explained.

The company apologized for the misunderstanding and emphasized that it “has no intention to violate the rules of the DOH on facility licensing.”

Safeguard DNA Diagnostics, Inc. is one of the DOH-accredited laboratories in the National Capital Region.

All 85 DOH-accredited laboratories use PCR technology, which is considered the gold standard in COVID-19 testing.

- With a report from Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News.