Walmart and Kroger raise prices for home Covid tests after White House deal expires

Walmart and Kroger increased the price of Abbott’s Covid-19 home test kit after a deal with the White House expired to sell the tests at a discount, the companies said on Tuesday.

The BinaxNOW kit, one of the first federally authorized home tests, was listed on Walmart’s website on Tuesday for $ 19.88, down from $ 14 last month. Kroger listed the tests for $ 23.99.

President Joe Biden announced the deal with Walmart, Amazon and Kroger in September, saying it was part of his administration’s plan to speed up testing and “better detect and control” the then most dangerous variant of the coronavirus. – the delta.

Packets of Abbott Laboratories’ BinaxNOW Covid-19 antigen self-test are stacked on a shelf in a store in New York City on November 12, 2021.Andrew Kelly / Reuters file

The three-month agreement to sell the tests “at cost” expired last month, just as the new variant of omicron began to make rapid progress in the United States.

A spokeswoman said in an email Tuesday that unlike other retailers, Walmart continued to sell the product for $ 14 during the holidays.

“We have seen a significant demand for Covid-19 home test kits and are working closely with our suppliers to meet this demand and provide the necessary product to our customers,” she said, adding that the inventory remained larger in stores than online.

The kits, which include two tests each, were listed as sold out on Walmart and Kroger websites on Tuesday.

In a statement, Kroger said he had fulfilled his commitment to the Biden administration and restored “retail prices.”

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The tests were not available on its website on Tuesday.

The White House could not be reached for comment. Biden said last month the administration plans to send up to 500 million free test kits to people who request them through a website – a plan, experts say will require scaling significant.

Administration officials have said they expect the first batch to ship this month.

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