Stores Now Able to Up Prices of at-Home COVID Tests

3-month White House agreement with Walgreens, Kroger, Amazon has expired
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2022 11:24 AM CST
Stores Now Able to Up Prices of at-Home COVID Tests
At-home COVID-19 test kits sit on a table before being handed out at a distribution site on Thursday in Youngstown, Ohio.   (AP Photo/David Dermer)

It's pretty impossible to find an at-home COVID test in many places. More expensive, too. A three-month agreement the Biden administration made with Walmart, Amazon, and Kroger to sell at-home COVID tests at cost—$14, reports the Wall Street Journal—expired last month. "This is ... up to [a] 35% reduction" in cost, President Biden said at the time the agreement was announced. NBC News reports it appears those stores have responded to its end by raising prices.

It quotes Walmart's website as showing the BinaxNOW kit on sale for $19.88 on Tuesday, and Kroger's as showing the tests for sale for $23.99—not that either site showed the tests as being in stock and available for purchase. The Journal reports the tests aren't available on Amazon at this time. Kroger said it met the terms of its commitment and had returned to "retail pricing," per NBC. Bloomberg notes that CVS and Walgreens weren't part of the administration deal and have had the BinaxNOW tests priced at $23.99.

As for the shortage, manufacturer Abbott tells the Journal its plants are operating 24/7, which is allowing it to produce 70 million tests a month. And, "despite rising US material and labor costs, we have not passed along any of these costs to our customers and the price at retail has not changed since we launched the test," it added. In its Wednesday newsletter, Quartz juxtaposes the current situation with the news from August that after Abbott saw sales drop off after vaccinations became more widely available last spring, it anticipated it would be stuck with its inventory and ordered that 8.6 million test cards be destroyed. (More COVID tests stories.)

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