In a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Klain, Senators Ed Markey (Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) demanded an investigation into reports that COVID-19 home tests have been subject to price gouging.
“As media reports continue to reveal price gouging and scams related to at-home test kits, we strongly urge the FTC to act as necessary and use its full authority to investigate the situation and hold bad actors accountable without delay,” they wrote. “No one should be allowed to reap a windfall and fraudulently exploit fear and human suffering.”
“The cost of at-home testing kits can pose a significant barrier to access,” Markey emphasized. “As we face an unprecedented wave of COVID cases, manufacturers and retailers must do more to ensure consumers see reasonable prices for these tests.”
Experts have previously pointed out that a COVID-19 home test is often $20 here in the United States but free or no more than a few dollars in Europe. Tests can cost as little as $2 to make.
You can read the complete letter HERE.
The letter comes as the federal government launches COVIDTests.gov, the website for Americans to order free COVID test kits. The website allows each household to order four at-home COVID-19 tests. Orders will ship at the end of this month.
The White House has also acknowledged that the Biden administration is working to troubleshoot existing website bugs to avoid complications with fulfilling orders.
“This program will ensure that Americans have at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests available in the weeks and months ahead — in addition to the number of other ways they can get tested,” the administration said in a statement on January 14. “The administration is quickly completing a contracting process for the unprecedented purchase of 1 billion at-home, rapid tests to distribute as part of this program.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.