NYers hunt for at-home COVID tests even as prices soar

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New Yorkers are being forced to pay inflated prices for do-it-yourself home COVID tests — if they can even find one.

The huge demand for the hard-to find over-the-counter tests — which usually retail for about $24 a pair — has jacked up their price at some outlets to as much as twice that.

And most Big Apple pharmacies visited by The Post on Monday were completely out of stock, with one Brooklyn location saying it sold its entire inventory — 2,000 kits — in just two days.

“For a COVID test, I’ll pay whatever they charge me,” said Esther Goldvig, 68, of Kips Bay in Manhattan.

“I won’t think twice about it, even if I know it’s a few dollars more than it should be.”

At home COVID test
Many New York residents are willing to pay the inflated prices for at-home tests.
AP
New York residents waiting in line for COVID testing
Residents are encouraged to report overpriced tests to New York Attorney General Letitia James.
AFP via Getty Images

At one Brooklyn pharmacy, the tests were going for $39 — with the store saying it’s paying more just to be able to get its hands on them as the highly transmissible Omicron variant rages with Christmas approaching.

“We got them for $35 each,” said Maoly Cabreja, manager of Park Chemists in Park Slope. “We can’t get it for cheaper than that. There’s no way. They are not available.”

Some other stores had their prices for the tests marked up to as much as double the usual cost. Still, most retailers seemed to keep true to the suggested retail price, if they even had kits to peddle.

At-home covid tests
The average retail price for an at-home test is $24, but some companies sell it for double the price.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Attorney General Letitia James
Attorney General Letitia James wants to stores to stop overpricing at-home COVID tests.
REUTERS

The state Attorney General’s Office has already gotten “a handful of complaints” about the beefed-up prices for the tests, a rep for the office said Monday — and urged residents to keep an eye out and let them know.

“As New York sees an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases, more and more New Yorkers are looking for at-home tests and other tools in the fight against the coronavirus,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

“If New Yorkers see exorbitant price increases, they are encouraged to report it to my office immediately,” James said. “And fraudsters are on notice that if they attempt to price gouge during this new surge, we will not hesitate to take action.”

New York residents waiting in line.
As the demand increases, New York residents struggle to find at-home tests at COVID.
AP

In a press briefing Monday, Gov. Kathy Hochul said her office was aware of the demand for the tests and that 10 million at-home tests will be sent to local counties in the coming weeks.

“Everyone’s talking about testing,” Hochul said. “We now have available 10 million more free at-home tests. The demand, I know, is continuing to be increased, so we’re trying to accommodate that.”

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