COVID Testing using RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) - Price Gouging

Rapid Antigen Test Kits are now essential to the way forward and part of ‘living with Covid’.

The TGA has approved 15 kits for use and rated their effectiveness. If a product offered is not on the following list it’s not approved, it may not be suitable, and may not be legally sold.

Note that some branded test kits are more reliable than others.

The test kits at the lower end of acceptable performance include according to the TGA products supplied by Pantonic, Emergence Technology, Innovation Scientific, and Roche Diagnostics. Refer to the link for further details.

Note testing is free at clinics etc.
We are now being advised to use RAT to take the load off the PCR testing, with consumers being asked to pay for the kits. The decision to move to home testing is a seperate, but important one.

Asking consumers to foot the bill personally is unreasonable, unfair, and unworkable. It can only encourage those of limited means to not test, and become unexpected victims. The only winners are the suppliers, pharmacy businesses, and … ?

The cost if we must pay can be regulated as for scheduled items on the PBS. Covid, seems to be the affliction that keeps finding new ways to inflict misery.


It is my understanding that those who are close contacts will be provided kits free of charge. Those who aren’t close contacts and chose to have a test, which may be for no justifiable reason, they will need to pay the $10-20 for their own test. This approach is reasonable based on current medical advice.

Those traveling interstate will be required to pay for their own RAT to meet entry requirements where RAT can be used for such purposes. The $10-20 per test per person will be small cost compared to the cost of the interstate travel.

Some states also plan to provide free of charge RAT to travellers entering from interstate to keep and use should covid symptoms occur when travelling within the state.

This is what Tasmania is doing, and some other states are similar and one should check with their own state/state they plan to travel to see see what arrangements exist.

The current PCR testing system is being overwhelmed with people concerned they have Covid even though there has been no contact with a Covid infected person. This has pushed out getting results in many cases to 4+ days meaning getting a pre-interstate travel test within 72 days of travel impossible (and delaying those in isolation until a negative test result is received). Many tourism businesses are facing a wave of cancellations as a result of travellers unable to get a timely PCR test prior to travel. The use of RAT by some states should alleviate current challenges.


I bought a box of RATs (7) before the bunrush began. They are stupid expensive now.


That is not my understanding. We still need to pay for kits if we need them. Assuming one can find a supply.

If it was factual would that the test kits are available for free be the first thing from the PM’s, Premiers and Health Ministers lips? The current wet feathered response from the Federal Govt to price gouging only exacerbates the situation.

I doubt there is any justification for the test kits not being free, or at least free to those with concessions and at a low fixed cost, eg PBS schedule for the rest of us.

We still have Covid, it’s still a pandemic and it has not been declared over.

I’m not debating whether the RAT tests are or are not appropriate, or about any other aspect of the response. They should be provided free and or at a reasonable affordable fixed cost is my expectation. It’s a very simple Government decision. One that Victoria is going to deliver on.

You either agree they should be free or disagree and are asking consumers to pay. Happy New Year Peter. :partying_face:

As a compromise I’d settle for a $6.50 per kit fixed price over the counter. Still too expensive for many.


Did you read the article and check the latest information from the Queensland State government.

As outlined above, there will be situations when one has to pay for a RAT such as when travelling interstate or if one wishes to test themselved without justification. It is worth checking with one’s own state government when tests will be free and when they are to be paid for.

If tests are made free, it could become a waste of taxpayers money as there would be huge amounts used for unnecessary testing…or individuals will hoard them like toilet paper, making them unavailable to those who need them.


I should have also said that much has changed in relation to testing and testing requirements in the past 24 hours. Some of these are reflected in the ABC Tasmania news article and I expect that there will be more information released as a result of yesterday’s national cabinet meeting. As there appeared to be consensus amongst most states, hopefully the approach moving forward is more consistent (rather than a federation of 8 independently governed jurisdictions).


Or they could be used responsibly to test at home.

Also importantly the national system as of yesterday is being updated to include 7 day home isolation, with testing including self testing after 6 days. Implementation dates vary,

Now Prime Minister Scott Morrison says a close contact will be someone who has spent four hours or more with a confirmed case in a household or household-like setting, such as a residential care facility.

Those contacts would only be required to quarantine for seven days, and take a rapid antigen test (RAT) on day six.

He said the new definition would come into effect from December 31 in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT.

The changes were expected to lessen the strain on PCR testing centres across the country, which have seen huge lines and long delays over the holiday period.

There is some sage medical opinion that queuing for hours while Covid positive and waiting to be tested is not a sound strategy where the majority in the queue are unlikely to be positive. Home RAT testing is one way to reduce the burden on PCR testing, and reduce the queues.


With the speed of 24x7 internet news and still readers struggle to keep up with changing government policies. This topic may be like waiting for all the shoes to drop from a millipede before whatever it is, is ‘done’. :laughing: , :frowning:


There are further calls to resolve the supply issues and costs to consumers of Rapid Antigen Tests for Covid.

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) echoed the criticism, calling for rapid antigen tests to be provided to people on welfare for free.

The nation’s leaders are currently considering how to provide free rapid antigen tests for vulnerable populations, but Mr Morrison has said there are no plans to make the rapid tests freely available for everyone, as has been done in the UK and Singapore.

“We are very concerned that people relying on income support payments just can’t afford $70 for a rapid antigen test (RAT) kit, leaving them unable to assess their risk from COVID-19 for themselves, their families and the community,” ACOSS President Peter McNamara said.

“It is irresponsible and callous of the Federal Government to fail to make provision for up to three million people already struggling to survive below the poverty line. Especially when we have evidence that people living in the lowest socioeconomic groups have experienced almost four times as many COVID-19 deaths as people in the highest income group.”

There are now further changes to some of the changes agreed yesterday. In part recognition that RAT testing is impractical due to a lack of availability of the test kits.

The UK and Singapore Govts responses are often referred to in comparisons to Australia. They include the free supply of RAT test kits. Calls for the free supply of test kits in Australia would not be unexpected.


Looks like I spoke too soon. Even with the modest charge for RATs, RATs have been sold out almost nationally since yesterday’s national cabinet. Our local chemist sold out a couple of boxes (don’t know how many but imagine would be scores of kits) shortly after the National Cabinet Debrief. There appears to be hoarding already occurring and possibly the government (Commonwealth and State) needs to regulate/restrict access to RATs to those which genuinely need them (possibly doctors or the health State department need to give authorities for purchase). Otherwise it will become another (toilet paper) hotcake for those which don’t need them, buying them thinking they do…and impacting on the ability of those who do, to purchase them.

On our own business (and other similar business have reported the same), we are receiving cancellations as RATs are no longer available…and RATs are a option to border entries from yesterday but due to long, overwhelming PCR queues (many in the queues also don’t need testing but are concerned that may have Covid due to media scaremongering) - this option is no longer available to meet the 72 hour testing window. And as a result, many are unable to travel to see their loved ones or to have a holiday.


On the ABCTV they said that people who are symptomatic are required to do the PCR test. The RAT is only appropriate for asymptomatic people.

Also, RAT supplies have been all but depleted, and are not expected to be fully restocked before the end of January.

The rats are leaving the sinking ship. :laughing:


Doctor’s Advice, or just a difference of opinion?

Vice President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Chris Moy said the crisis around inflated prices and no stock could have been avoided.

Earlier this week, the peak body said they had advised the Prime Minister to enact a “clear plan” to ensure access to testing and clear policies around their use.

In interviews dating back to September 2021, Dr Moy has been quoted speaking about the importance of rapid testing when Australia entered the “living with Covid” phase.

Our political leadership has always been able to act differently to expert advice and opinion. In this instance leaving it to business and the market. Why this might not deliver the best outcome, is well put by others in the linked article.

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Profits are important. Public health apparently less so. Not as if there are viable solutions to RAT tests on shelves.


The private sector is most able to take over. Let the profits roll. Some may consider it supply and demand, others something different.


And the ACCC aka blind Freddy…Rapid antigen test price gouging under investigation, but ACCC says no evidence of widespread abuse

No worries just bau.


The one solution the ACCC can’t deliver.

“The beauty of our healthcare system, and it is the absolute plank of our public health approach, [is] free access, equitable access for absolutely everyone.

“So if we’re going to rely on antigen testing, and I think we can do some really innovative things with antigen tests and it may even give us additional freedoms in certain situations, they really have to be widely accessible and free.”

Lewin said she was increasingly concerned about the rate of hospitalisations, saying that while the Omicron variant was milder, the increasing caseload and high levels of furloughed staff were creating new stresses.


With RAT’s in such high demand right now, you would expect its price to remain relatively stable. However, this is not the case. Many businesses are taking advantage of people desperate to get a covid test by increasing the price of RAT’s a lot aka price gouging.
The ACCC has taken notice and is investigating.
I was interested as to what the community thinks RAT’s should be priced at. Pricing dynamics are based on many factors such as production cost, availability of necessary materials, and demand. But just because a certain product is high in demand doesn’t mean that it should be stupidly overpriced. CHOICE must keep pressuring the government to outlaw price gouging outright for the benefit of all Australian consumers.

Article from the ABC:


The fundamental principle of markets and supply and demand suggest the exact opposite. I see exactly what should happen when demand exceeds supply. Prices rise.


I merged your topic into this existing one, and adjusted the topic to reflect it. Price gouging and the ACCC ‘response’ have been noted in prior posts. As expected many consumers are experiencing empty shelves and suddenly very high prices (what the market will bear and then some because of scarcity of supply) while the ACCC had ‘nothing to see’ but is ‘investigating’.

Any time a government or agency always operates as reactively as many of ours do it does not bode well for the best outcomes.

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Do you have any evidence this is the case? There has been reports of individuals hearing second hand rumours that this is happening, but currently there is no evidence this is the case. There are also rumours floating around social media as well.

ACCC chair Rod Sims said the watchdog was now investigating, but so far he had not seen systematic price gouging.

Depending on the brand/manuufacturer of the RATs, they range from about $10-20 per test when sold singularly and often cheaper when the same brand/manufacturer is bought in a bulk pack.

Currently they are also issued, to individuals free of charge, to those which meet the necessary requirements, such as being a confirmed close contact and as in some states, on entry to the state. If one doesn’t meet these requirements and choses to do their own RAT for other reasons, then such individuals need to pay for their own RAT kit.

If you do plan to buy your own RAT kits, such as you are travelling interstate and need a test done prior to entry, most retailers have now implemented a purchase limit of 1 to 2 tests. A Chemist Warehouse I visited yesterday had a maximum of 2 kits per customer per day. Asking the pharmacist while waiting for a script, he said they had to introduce limits as every time they were putting out more stock, from the limited number they had, one or two customers were clearing the shelves. They had to introduce limits like those introduced buy some retailers during early stages of Covid, to try and ensure those who need them have the opportunity to purchase them. I am unsure how effective this approach is as the shelves were bare of test kits and they were waiting for more stock in coming days. Possibly kits need to be dispensed by a pharmacist/doctor rather than placed on the shelves for customers to help themselves.