Walmart Inc. WMT and The Kroger Company KR have jacked up the price of the BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 tests after a fixed-price sales deal with the Biden administration expired.
What Happened: Fox Business reported that the companies, along with Amazon.com AMZN, reached an agreement with the Biden administration in September to sell the antigen self-test kits made by Abbott Laboratories ABT for $14 for a 100-day period that ended in mid-December.
The White House did not seek an extension of the agreement, and now Walmart is selling the tests at $19.98 and Kroger has the kits priced at $23.99. The product is not available on Amazon.com, although the e-commerce giant has other COVID-19 tests available priced as low as $17.98.
Why It Happened: A Walmart spokesperson defended the price increase, claiming that “while other retailers increased prices in mid-December, Walmart held the $14.00 through the holidays before increasing the price.” The product is now out of stock on the Walmart.com e-commerce site.
A Kroger spokesperson also defended its action, noting that the "pricing program has now phased out and retail pricing has been reinstated."
The Biden administration vowed last month to distribute 500 million at-home tests through a new website scheduled to go online in January, although no details on the costs and allocation of the tests have been released.
Photo: Gerd Altmann / Pixabay
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