$100 for a rapid antigen test: Shock report reveals how Aussies are being rorted for RATs – and the biggest culprit is a surprising store
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission revealed RAT price gouging
- Pharmacists received 879 complaints about them from Christmas to January 12
- Therapeutic Goods Administration approved first rapid antigen test in October
- This was almost a year after its counterparts in the United States and the UK
Individual rapid antigen tests are selling for $100 each with substantially more complaints made about pharmacists than any other kind of retailer.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has compiled a list a complaints about price gouging for home testing kits.
From Christmas Day to January 12, maximum prices surged from just $14 to $100 by January 7.
This was well above the wholesale costs of $3.95 to $11.45 for one test.
When it came to reported rip offs, pharmacists had the most complaints at 879 during the two-and-a-half week period, followed by 283 for supermarkets and convenience stores and 272 for petrol stations.
In some cases, retailers are even refusing to give customers a receipt to hide their price gouging.
Rapid antigen tests are selling for $100 with more complaints made about pharmacists (pictured is a stock image of a Sydney chemist)
ACCC chair Rod Sims said retailers selling RATs at a huge mark-up needed to explain themselves.
‘We are asking those businesses to urgently explain the prices they are charging,’ he said.
The competition regulator has contacted more than 40 test suppliers, major retailers and pharmacy chains demanding details on their pricing.
Since October, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved 22 test kits, with 16 of them made in China and only one manufactured in Australia.
With Chinese New Year coming up on February 1, Chinese factories are set to close, further delaying supplies.
The TGA approved its first self-administered rapid antigen test almost a year after their counterparts in the United States and the UK.
Now a backlog in orders, as a result of new Covid testing rules allowing RATs, is creating uncertainty.
‘Given delays in the supply of tests, or test parts, into Australia, delays in distribution due to Covid illness or isolation requirements within workforces and at the retailer level, there is significant difficulty forecasting accurate supply,’ Mr Sims said.
Since October, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved 22 test kits, with 16 of them made in China (pictured is a Chinese-made example listed for less than $25)
ACCC chair Rod Sims said retailers selling RATs at a huge mark-up needed to explain themselves
The American Food and Drug Administration approved the first over-the-counter home testing kit in December 2020.
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the first lateral flow test kit in January 2021.
Rapid antigen tests in Australia have quickly sold out at chemists and supermarkets after National Cabinet, on January 5, announced they would be allowed to confirm a positive Covid test.
The measure was designed to people from having to queue up for hours at a Covid testing clinic to get a PCR or polymerase chain reaction test.
On New Year’s Day, Queensland allowed visitors to rely on a negative rapid antigen test result into of a PCR test to gain entry into the state.
But since January 15, neither have been needed.
The New South Wales government has since January 12 required residents to register a positive rapid antigen test result.