In a context of increasing demand and rising cases, the Authorities have imposed on commercial affairs agencies to regulate the prices of COVID-19 antigen (ATK) testing kits for personal use, to avoid price hikes.
Traisuree Taisaranakul, deputy government spokesman, announced that Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the Ministry of Commerce to regulate the sale of self-testing devices in an effort to combat price gouging.
General Prayut called on the Ministry of Commerce to coordinate with the Ministry of Finance, the police and other agencies, and to establish a group to monitor ATK prices, to prosecute price gougers and to set up guidelines to prevent the exploitation of consumers.
Instructions were given to the ministry to reinstate measures to lower the retail prices of these kits. The goal is to ensure public access to these vital, life-saving disease screening devices.
Additionally, the government has specifically sent a message to retail stores that sell ATKs, urging them to be honest and equitable with their customers and not to take profit from a rising medical situation. By raising prices to increase profits, people who think they may have a Covid-19 infection but don’t want to pay the high price to be tested could be discouraged, which could prolong and worsen the pandemic.
Currently, ATK prices range from about 40 baht each to about 800 baht per box of 20 kits.