…. DRA says the product needs policy clearance 

Nima Wangdi 

A notification from Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA), which was issued yesterday, stated that the personal use, sale and distribution of Covid-19 antigen self-test kits are illegal in the country without clearance from the health ministry.

The notification also stated that the Ministry of Health has not granted policy clearance for the use of Covid-19 antigen self-test kits as of yet and the import of such self-test kits for sale and distribution including personal use will be prohibited from the public health perspective.

Even after the ministry provides policy clearance, only technical authorisation holders would be permitted to sell and distribute the test kits. This is because the Covid-19 antigen self-test kits fall under the category of medical products according to the notification.

Some individuals and companies advertised Covid-19 antigen self-test kits on Instagram (IG) recently. They posted pictures of the testing kits along with the price tags.

People were already talking about the legitimacy of the business then. They started enquiring if the test kits were genuine and legal to be used in the country.

A corporate employee said that he even contacted one of the companies, which claimed to be an online supply store. He was told that the kits will soon arrive and the pickup points will be announced.

“I was told that the test kit is two in one, meaning it can perform tests on both nasal or saliva samples, whichever is preferred,” he said. The price for a kit was Nu 340.

A Thimphu resident said, he doubts if the people would still buy these self-test kits when the tests are provided free of cost in the country. However, the sale and distribution of self-test kits are allowed elsewhere in the world going by Internet sources.