ACCC closely monitoring pricing of in-demand rapid antigen tests

rapid antigen tests

In response to the significant public concern surrounding the pricing of rapid antigen tests, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has stated it is contacting suppliers and closely monitoring the situation. 

The ACCC will be examining claims that the current pricing levels of rapid antigen tests are due to challenges in obtaining supply of the tests. 

“We are seeking information from suppliers about their costs and the current pricing of rapid antigen tests. We are also asking them about their current stock levels and the amounts on order, and about their expectations for when additional tests may become readily available to consumers,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said. 

“We are also contacting major retailers and pharmacies seeking similar information and reminding them that they need to be able to substantiate any claims they make to consumers about the reason for higher prices. The ACCC has established a team to work on the issues.” 

While suppliers are generally able to set their own prices, businesses must not make false or misleading statements about the reason for high prices, the authority stated. 

“We won’t be shy to name and shame suppliers and retailers we consider to be doing the wrong thing,” Sims said. 

In certain circumstances, excessive pricing of essential goods or services may also be unconscionable. Businesses must also set their prices independently of their competitors and not collude about pricing. 

The ACCC will review the information received from suppliers, retailers and the public. 

“We’ve also had over 100 consumer contacts to our Infocentre or through the online form,” Sims said. “We will review the information received and investigate the evidence to determine if there is conduct that raises concerns. 

“The ACCC is monitoring the situation and will take appropriate action under its existing powers. The ACCC has not sought, and does not need, more powers to deal with the current situation.” 

Consumers can contact the ACCC to report concerning conduct online. Anyone who has evidence of price fixing cartels can contact the ACCC anonymously or via the ACCC’s webform.