Americans needing or wanting to take a COVID test will have to pay more now as prices have gone up at retail giants Walmart and Kroger. Both companies have raised the price of BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 tests, after a deal made with President Joe Biden expired in mid-December, FOX Business reported.
The September deal made with the two companies was they would sell antigen two test self-test kits made by Abbott Laboratories for $14 for100 days. Now, according to their websites, Walmart has raised their price to $19.98 while Kroger has increased their price to $23.99.
“The program ended in mid-December, and while other retailers increased prices in mid-December, Walmart held the $14.00 price through the holidays before increasing the price,” a Walmart spokesperson told FOX business in a statement. There are also purchase limits in place due to the high demand tests.
A Kroger spokesperson confirmed “that the pricing program has now phased out and retail pricing has been reinstated,” FOX business reported. Amazon was also part of the deal, but in checking Thursday, they did not have the BinaxNOW in stock, and it wasn’t even listed in their products for sale. They did have similar products, such as on/go which contained two COVID-19 antigen Self-Test kits for $24.88 with free delivery between January 14 and 24.
Test shortages complicated the holidays and is still complicating as shortage of product remains a big concern. Many retailers are simply unable to get the product. The Biden administration said the shortage was not anticipated because no one expected a highly contagious variant like Omicron to spread so rapidly throughout the United States.
“We should have had more test available, but hopefully now as we get into the first couple of weeks in January, that’ll get much better,” President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said in late December.
On Wednesday Bloomberg reported that BinaxNOW kits, which include two COVID-19 test are selling for as much as $75 a package on various digital marketplaces. This is more than three times as much as their normal retail price of $20 to $23. One restaurant worker told Bloomberg she and other staff members paid $180 for four test kits.
New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, said in a press release in late December that reports suggested BinaxNOW test kits, priced at $14 to $25, were costing up to $70 a package.
This failure by the Biden administration to not foresee the need for more test kits is another administration failure.
The surge has led to an all-time high recorded cases in the U.S., though data from South Africa showed the Omicron variant was milder than others and does not increase deaths at the same rare as other cases.