From the end of June, the large scale testing will reopen without limits for non-vaccinated travellers, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel (DP) and Health Minister Paulette Lenert (LSAP) announced last Friday.
The news has caused the analysis laboratory Bionext Lab to react: in an open letter sent Sunday evening to the Minister of Health, its director Jean-Luc Dourson complains of "unfair competition" and announces: "We will take all the necessary legal action to restore legality.”
The manager is calling for this free screening to be opened up to all medical analysis laboratories and no longer to the 8 stations of the large scale testing, whose samples are analysed by Laboratoires Réunis.
Travellers forced to go to the private sector, then back to the LST
The head of Bionext Lab welcomes the opening of PCR testing free of charge for the whole population, but he denounces the fact that in the analysis laboratories not participating in the LST, such as his own, but also the Ketterthill network and Laboratoires Réunis, people presenting themselves without a medical prescription must bear the costs involved, namely around €60 per test.
As a reminder, the health authorities had excluded travellers from the large scale testing at the beginning of April, asking them to go to private analysis laboratories at their own expense.
The share of tests for 'travel purposes' represents 80% of our overall volume of Covid-19 activity.
"The share of tests for 'travel purposes' represents 80% of our overall Covid-19 business volume,” Jean-Luc Dourson told our colleagues at Paperjam. He does not exclude "having to consider restructuring the laboratory and perhaps even a redundancy plan". The number of employees in his laboratory has risen from 140 before the health crisis to 200, an increase of 43%.
Dourson believes that the LST is an "illegally state-subsidised system", words that recall the open letter co-signed with Ketterthill in May 2020 to denounce the use of Fast Track Diagnostics' tests--used by Laboratoires Réunis--rather than those of Seegene used by its two competitors in the framework of large-scale testing.
But this time, Ketterthill is not on board. The Belval-based laboratory did not respond to Paperjam's requests. As for the Ministry of Health, it confirmed on Monday morning that it had "received the open letter from Dr Dourson and will analyse it".
Jean-Luc Dourson has not, for the time being, lodged a complaint in connection with the award of the LST contract. "The studies are underway," he says, while adding that he does not rule out informing the European Commission.
The open letter was also sent to the Competition Council, Fedil, CLC, UEL, FDA, CNS and AMMD among others.