'Sounds like we’re monetizing a pandemic': Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaw faces backlash for selling $40 rapid COVID-19 tests in Ontario, Alberta

·3-min read
'Sounds like we’re monetizing a pandemic': Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaw faces backlash for selling $40 rapid COVID-19 tests in Ontario, Alberta

People in Alberta and Ontario can now buy a $40 COVID-19 rapid test from Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw pharmacies, which provides results between 15 and 20 minutes.

Anyone who does not have any COVID-19 symptoms and has not been in contact with a positive COVID-19 case in the past 14 days is eligible for the test.

"To get through this pandemic, we all need to follow public health guidelines, get vaccinated, and continue testing and screening in order to stop the spread of COVID-19," a statement from Ashesh Desai, executive vice president, pharmacy and healthcare, Shoppers Drug Mart, reads. "As Ontario and Alberta begin their recovery from this third wave of COVID-19, rapid screening options can provide customers with an extra level of confidence."

Loblaw has stated that the test were purchased directly from the manufacturer.

After the announcement was made on Monday, several people took to social media to criticize the business under George Weston Limited for "monetizing the pandemic."

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In the U.S. rapid antigen tests are available for purchase, with the prices varying across state, ranging from around $20 into even hundreds of dollars.

On April 9, the U.K. government announced that anyone in England can take a free rapid COVID-19 test, rapid lateral flow tests (LFDs), twice a week.

"Around 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 show no symptoms, and as we reopen society and resume parts of life we have all dearly missed, regular rapid testing is going to be fundamental in helping us quickly spot positive cases and squash any outbreaks," a statement from the country's Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, reads.