latest fashion

Drugstores struggle to keep Covid at-home tests in stock amid omicron crisis

A sign at a CVS store in Brooklyn notifying shoppers there are no more at home Covid-19 tests available on Dec. 21st, 2021.

Leslie Josephs | CNBC

George Panagiotopoulos has been struggling to keep at-home Covid-19 tests in stock at Broadway Chemists pharmacy in New York City as coronavirus cases surge to new highs.

A shipment of 200 tests received the Saturday before Christmas sold out “within a couple of hours,” he said.

latest fashion

Panagiotopoulos, who owns the pharmacy, had a list of 110 people waiting for him to restock at-home tests the Tuesday before Christmas. That shipment of 150 kits arrived two days late and sold out within 48 hours, he said. Broadway Chemists received another shipment of 150 tests on Dec. 30, but most of them were gone in a day.

As of Friday afternoon, the pharmacy had just 20 to 30 tests left in stock. Panagiotopoulos expects demand to remain high with the return to school after the holidays as parents seek to test their kids.

His experience is playing out in Covid hotspots across the country as infections reached all-time highs, driven largely by the highly contagious omicron variant.

‘Tsunami of demand’

Bidding war

Payment upfront

Shortage of raw materials

Matt Regan, president and CEO of medical goods distributor Code 1 Supply, said Thursday that the supply of kit components dried up over the previous seven to 10 days. Regan said business partners have told him there’s a shortage of raw materials, and that distributors are prioritizing orders from federal agencies over other buyers.

Three other companies that sell Covid at-home tests that spoke with CNBC, including iPromo, Sunline Supply and nonprofit Project N95, said they were similarly told the Biden administration’s new plan to supply 500 million at-home tests to the public was delaying their own shipments. But the White House said its plans should not hamper existing agreements between private parties.

“Because we have this additional capacity, we can make this purchase without disruption to supply to existing manufacturers’ commitments to states or organizations,” a White House official said in a statement to CNBC.

Quickly ramping up test manufacturing, however, is difficult, said Steven Tang, CEO of rapid test manufacturer OraSure Technologies. There’s a shortage of several components, he said, and staffing up to add more shifts to churn out more tests is a challenge with such fluctuating demand.

“Way back in May and June, when we thought that vaccines were going to take care of everything, people began to decrease the amount of supply and decrease the amount of labor and shifts,” Tang said.

Then demand for testing started to rise again heading into the fall, he said. “Businesses, particularly ones that are scaling up, thrive when there is consistency of demand and predictability. We are not in a consistent predictable situation right now.”

Production ramps up

Source link

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply