Australian Consumer Watchdog has announced that it will crack down on Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) price cuts amid a national shortage.
“The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) is monitoring the situation and will take appropriate action under existing authority,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims. statement..
“We are not ashamed to name suppliers and retailers who think they are doing the wrong thing.”
This happens as concerns about the price of the test grow. Social media posts It shows that some retailers were selling them for A $ 45 (US $ 32) per test.
As Omicron variants exploded across Australia, laboratories offering PCR tests were exposed to tremendous pressure and were temporarily closed. As a result, RAT is increasing.
Approximately 84 million federal-funded rapid antigen tests are secured by the state and territory governments.
According to The Sims, Watchdog is asking suppliers for information about costs, current inventory levels, order prices, and when consumers will soon have additional testing available.
“We also need to contact major retailers and pharmacies seeking similar information and be able to substantiate any claims they make to consumers about the reasons for the higher prices. It reminds me, “he said. “We also had over 100 consumer contacts through Infocentre or online forms.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who previously said that RAT is not offered free to everyone like in some countries such as the United Kingdom, faces severe criticism from opposition parties and unions.
“This is a public policy failure never seen before in this country,” opposition leader Anthony Albanese told reporters in Newcastle.
“It’s unbelievable that the government told people not to go and be tested, but to test themselves with a rapid antigen test that isn’t available and affordable.”
Gerald Hayes, secretary general of the New South Wales Health Services Union, said he had heard of a supplier selling RAT for $ 100.
“We had the opportunity to see what was happening abroad, but we still have no plans to make sure we are ahead of the game,” he told ABC on Wednesday. rice field.
“I think the federal government should be able to run a logistic campaign that takes care of all Australians, whether you are wealthy or not.”
The National Cabinet will meet on Wednesday to discuss discounted RAT prices for concession cardholders.
Consumers who want to report on their conduct or have evidence of a price-fixing cartel are encouraged to: Contact the ACCC..