Price gouging for at-home COVID-19 test kits being investigated across Michigan

at-home tests
Posted at 5:51 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 18:20:58-05

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Attorney General Dana Nessel sent out a warning to some businesses after receiving consumer complaints against Value Center Pharmacy II in Madison Heights, Skip’s Pharmacy in Holland and a pharmacy in Birch Run.

Nessel’s team believes these businesses were charging anywhere between $50 to $80 for at-home COVID-19 testing kits.

7 Action News went to one of the locations to see firsthand if customers are paying more than they need to for rapid tests.

At the Value Center Pharmacy II in Madison Heights, we saw a sign hanging from the register.

It read: "COVID at home tests kits for only $49.99/2 tests.” And as soon as we left, it was taken down.

Ashley Gibbard from Better Business Bureau says she has seen tests go for anywhere between $17 to $19 and anything above a 20% increase is considered price gouging.

"Inside of a pharmacy tends to be a little bit more pricey than online, but you also want to make sure you are getting a legitimate product, where a pharmacy may be a little bit beneficial," Gibbard said.

7 Action News called a few pharmacies nearby and the most expensive one found was $23 and on, the average price is around $17.

Nessel says the pharmacies claim they bought the kits at a higher price by a third company, Birch Run Drugs.

But the drug store and the pharmacies have the same owner.

As of Monday evening, we didn't hear back from the owner, but shoppers at the center expressed their disappointment.

"Just putting money in people’s pockets, especially pharmacies and drug manufacturers," shopper Johnny Strasser said.

"Makes me wonder if some of the other items that I’ve purchased on a daily basis might have been hiked up on price," another shopper, Benjamin Prowse, said.

"Well maybe I will shop around a bit more now," said Dorothy Gillilne, Shopper.

Meanwhile, the pharmacies have until Feb. 13 to explain their pricing practices or risk additional legal action. Also, the public can report any form of price gouging directly to BBB and the AG’s office.