Amid COVID-19 Test Shortages, Price Gouging Is on the Rise

Attorney General offices around the country have reported receiving complaints or hearing stories of price gouging

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MONDAY, Jan. 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- As the omicron variant blankets America and demand for COVID-19 tests climbs, so, too, does price gouging. High prices for over-the-counter antigen tests are being seen around the country, CBS News reported.

In New York, Attorney General Letitia James has received complaints of products selling at double or triple the retail price. "A standard BinaxNOW brand test kit at a New York store, like Walgreens, costs appropriately between $14 and $25 for a package of two tests; however, there has been alleged reports of the same products being unlawfully sold for more than $40 and up to $70 per package," James said in a statement last month.

The internet marketplace for COVID-19 tests is not much better: Online retailer Tanga is selling the BinaxNow tests for $59.99 for a box of two or $349 for 10 boxes. These kits typically retail for $23.99 at Walgreens or even less at Walmart, where they retail for $19.88 but are out of stock, CBS News reported.

Attorney General offices around 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 on the lookout for fraudulent COVID-19 related practices, specifically as it pertains to testing." Carr said in a statement that he had heard reports of overcharging for tests.

Meanwhile, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein asked residents to report pandemic-related price gouging. North Carolina has a price-gouging law, and Stein has taken companies to court before for pandemic-related price gouging. That includes a New Jersey company now barred from selling personal protective equipment at excessive prices and a Charlotte company Stein got an injunction against for allegedly booting or towing trucks delivering food, water, and medical supplies during the pandemic, CBS News reported.

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