Amid COVID Test Shortages, Price Gouging Is on the Rise

Monday, January 10, 2022 – As the Omicron of America variable rises and the demand for COVID-19 tests rises, so too does price gouging.

Over-the-counter antigen testing prices are rising across the country, CBS News mentioned.

“The danger in healthcare is that for any life-saving product – it’s prone to price hikes because most people will pay [an] The epidemiologist and health economist Eric Vigel-Ding wrote in a series of Tweets.

In New York, Attorney General Letitia James received complaints that products were sold at double or triple retail price.

“A standard BinaxNOW brand test kit in a New York store, such as Walgreens, costs appropriately between $14 and $25 for a set of two tests, however, there have been allegations of the same products being sold illegally for more than $40 and up to $70 per package, James said in a statement last month.

The online market for COVID tests isn’t much better: Online retailer Tanga sells BinaxNow tests for $59.99 for a box of two or $349 for 10 boxes. These sets usually sell for $23.99 at Walgreens or even less at Walmart, where they sell for $19.88 but out of stock, CBS News mentioned.

Attorney General’s offices across the country have reported receiving complaints or hearing stories of price gouging.

In Georgia, Attorney General Chris Carr called on residents last week to “be vigilant about fraudulent practices related to COVID-19, specifically regarding testing.” Carr said in a statement that he has heard reports of overcharging for COVID tests.

Meanwhile, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein asked residents to report price hikes linked to the pandemic.

North Carolina has a price gouging law, and Stein has sued companies before for price gouging linked to the pandemic. That includes a New Jersey company that is now barred from selling personal protective equipment at exorbitant prices, and the Stein Company of Charlotte has obtained an injunction for allegedly operating or towing trucks transporting food, water, and medical supplies during the pandemic, CBS News mentioned.

“In particular, our office has heard accounts that there may be price gouging going on with in-house testing,” Stein said Wednesday.

While the Biden administration plans to send 500 million at-home tests to Americans for free, that has yet to happen. An earlier deal with retailers Walmart and Kroger to reduce testing costs has expired.

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