With the majority of public hospitals in Morocco unable to host all COVID-19 patients in their vicinity, many Moroccans now go to private clinics for COVID-19 tests and treatment.
Some private clinic owners exploited the fear and anxiety of Moroccans, issuing exorbitant medical bills.
On November 11, Morocco’s Ministry of Health publicized the reference prices for COVID-19 treatment and launched an online platform to receive complaints about private clinics that violate the regulated fees.
According to the ministry’s document, people who catch or suspect having caught COVID-19 in Morocco can visit private clinics for a medical consultation for MAD 80 to MAD 150 ($9-$16).
After the consultation, patients will have to take a PCR test for COVID-19 for MAD 680 ($74).
If the patient tests positive for COVID-19, their treatment and its cost will differ depending on the severity of their case.
Mild and asymptomatic cases
Carriers who suffer from mild or no symptoms have to undergo a simple bioanalysis and an electrocardiogram (ECG) before they begin treatment for COVID-19. The analysis costs MAD 517 ($56) and the ECG MAD 100 ($11).
For the treatment of asymptomatic cases or cases with mild symptoms, the Ministry of Health recommends daily doses of chloroquine and azithromycin for seven to 10 days. In total, the drugs can cost MAD 207 to MAD 219 ($23-$24).
For moderate COVID-19 cases, pre-treatment tests include an ECG (MAD 100 or $11), a bioanalysis (MAD 781 or $85), and a chest tomography scan (MAD 1,000 or $109).
The treatment of moderate cases is similar to treatment for those with mild symptoms in terms of prescribed drugs, which can range between MAD 131 and MAD 137 ($14-$15).
However, if the patient requires hospitalization they can pay up to MAD 550 ($60) per night for a maximal duration of 10 nights (up to MAD 5,500 or $600). A hospital stay of 10 days will also require two new bioanalyses, for MAD 605 ($66) each, and two new ECGs, for MAD 100 ($11) each.
Severe and critical COVID-19 cases share the same costs in terms of pre-treatment tests and prescribed drugs.
The tests include a complex bioanalysis (MAD 2,750 or $300), an echocardiogram (MAD 650 or $71), an ECG (MAD 100 or $11), and a chest tomography scan (MAD 1,000 or $109).
Meanwhile, the prescribed drugs for severe and critical COVID-19 cases can cost MAD 652 to MAD 672 ($71-$73).
The difference between the treatment cost of severe and critical COVID-19 cases lies in the hospitalization expenses.
For severe cases, a stay in an intensive care unit can cost MAD 1,000 ($109) per night and can last for eight days (up to MAD 8,000 or $874).
The hospitalization period for severe COVID-19 cases also includes, on average, five days at the hospital after the intensive care for medical check-ups. The stay costs an average of MAD 2,750 ($300).
During the stay, the patient undergoes four bioanalyses for MAD 1,430 ($156) each, totalling MAD 5,720 ($625). Tests also include a blood count (MAD 308 or $34) and two ECGs for MAD 100 ($11) each.
Hospitalization for critical COVID-19 patients can be significantly more expensive. Patients in critical condition spend, on average, 10 days in a reanimation unit for MAD 1,500 ($164) per night (up to MAD 15,000 or $1,639 in total).
After they survive the reanimation period, the patients spend an average of five days in an intensive care unit and three days in a normal hospital bed. The stay under intensive care costs MAD 1,000 ($109) per night (up to MAD 5,000 or $546), while the rest of the stay costs MAD 550 ($60) per night (up to MAD 1,650 or $180).
During the hospitalization period, the patient undergoes a series of medical tests, including one bioanalysis for MAD 770 ($84) every three days (up to MAD 4,620 or $505).
The tests also include a complete blood count (MAD 858 or $94), an echocardiogram (MAD 650 or $71), a thoracic radiograph (MAD 180 or $20), an arterial blood gas test (MAD 220 or $24), and an additional ECG (MAD 100 or $11).
In the case of superinfection, the treatment can include a procalcitonin injection as well, for MAD 440 ($48).
Overall, diagnosis and treatment for COVID-19 in a Moroccan private clinic can cost anywhere from MAD 1,584 to MAD 34,720 ($173-$3,793).
The diagnosis and treatment of mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases costs MAD 1,584 to MAD 1,877 ($173-$205).
Patients with moderate COVID-19 symptoms could pay up to MAD 9,758 ($1,066) for diagnosis and treatment.
The bill for patients experiencing severe COVID-19 cases can reach a maximal sum of MAD 22,980 ($2,511).
Finally, the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients in critical condition can cost up to MAD 34,720 ($3,793).