Rapid antigen tests warning of prices eroding sparks amid COVID quarantine changes

Australian authorities have fired a warning shot at those considering pricing COVID-19 rapid antigen tests.

As many people are struggling to get their hands on the product, 7NEWS has been made aware of people selling the kits on social media at significantly too high prices.

In one case, individual tests were sold for $ 25, as opposed to the standard retail price of $ 10 each.

Federal Health Secretary Greg Hunt said pricing of the essential medical product is not on, giving a warning to retailers considering raising their prices.

“We want a discussion with suppliers to make sure there are no price spills,” he said Thursday.

“If there was … we would take strong, clear and swift action.”

On Thursday, the importance of rapid antigen testing for Australia’s path out of the pandemic increased significantly as Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced they would become more dependent on close contacts.

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt. Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT have since Friday agreed to allow close contacts to use rapid antigen testing to indicate quarantined infection status.

Hunt said millions of test packages will soon arrive in Australia.

“What we are seeing is a very large number coming into the country,” he said.

“We see over 84 million in orders announced in the last few days.

Someone who sells fast antigen tests at a high price on social media.
Someone who sells fast antigen tests at a high price on social media. Credit: Delivered

“We know that the private market also supplies them.

“One of the largest suppliers in the private market indicated that they will bring in 15 million in the coming weeks.”

Stephanie Golman, sales director for Pharma Soul PPE, said the acquisition of the tests has been a “logistical nightmare”, in part due to freight competition.

“We’re fighting for that airport, and we’re fighting to get that bulk supply here,” she told 7NEWS.


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