Australian rapid test distributor condemns rising retail prices


Retailers have also agreed to introduce measures to end the hoarding of tests, he said. “We will have anti-hoarding provisions put in place, on a voluntary basis, by the retail industry where you can only buy one box at a time,” he said.

“They will be administered and monitored by the retail industry itself and, in fact, many of them are already doing that right now.”

Demand for tests exceeds supply, with frustrated consumers visiting dozens of drugstores in a desperate quest for kits.

Ms Kebriti said she was determined to keep her wholesale prices stable.

“I’m going to hold on as long as possible because I want to have a long-term business,” she said.

The Innoscreen kits are being made in Sydney at an address Ms Kebriti does not want to divulge as she fears people will descend on the factory in a desperate attempt to get their hands on the tests.

These are the only tests made in Australia approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The plant is operating at full capacity, performing 30,000 tests per day, up from around 2,500 in November.

Ms Kebriti said local retailers were initially slow to purchase the kits, opting instead for kits made in China because they were cheaper and generated larger profits.

Dean Price, senior campaign and policy adviser at consumer group Choice, said the cost of purchasing a rapid antigen test has risen by as much as 350% in recent weeks.

“We think this is a greedy act on the part of retailers at a time when people really need to be able to access testing,” he said.

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He said some tests that were previously priced at $ 10 are now selling for $ 45.

“With the greater confidence governments place in rapid antigenic testing, it is now more vital that people can access and afford it,” he said.

The Australian Public Health Association and the Australian Medical Association have called on the government to increase the supply of the test and make it free.

“The [rapid antigen tests] are a health product, not a typical consumer good, and the overwhelming demand for them has inflated their price beyond what many people can afford, ”the groups said in a joint statement Wednesday.

National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Trent Twomey, who welcomes the ACCC’s investigation into price hike allegations, said wholesalers and distributors have recently increased the cost of rapid antigen testing. He said that left pharmacists with no choice but to pass the costs on to consumers.

“They say their increased prices are due to issues like express air freight and express delivery services across Australia,” he said.

Demand for testing has skyrocketed following recent changes to testing rules agreed to by the national cabinet, which mean anyone in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19 must use the tests even if they are asymptomatic .

Interstate travelers have also fueled demand, with those wishing to travel to Queensland to register a negative rapid antigen test or PCR test within 72 hours of arrival.

Symptomatic people who want to avoid long delays at PCR testing clinics have tried procuring the tests at home through friends, family and online.

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