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COVID-19 self-test kits cheaper, prices will stay 'competitive', say retailers

COVID-19 self-test kits cheaper, prices will stay 'competitive', say retailers

SD Biosensor antigen rapid test (ART) kits at a pharmacy in Singapore on Dec 8, 2021. (Photo: Chew Hui Min/CNA)

SINGAPORE: Prices of COVID-19 self-test kits have fallen, some by about half, from three months ago, with two retailers saying that the decrease is here to stay.

Abbott's Panbio antigen self-test is now selling at S$5.95 a box at Guardian and Watson's pharmacies, instead of the S$13 it was priced at before.

A Guardian spokesperson said that other brands are also cheaper, with Standard Q at S$5.70 a piece (was S$7.50) and the QuickVue brand at S$18.60 for two pieces, down from S$21.40.

The spokesperson said that the prices of antigen rapid test (ART) kits are dependent on a number of supply side factors, such as differing cost structures, currency exchange rates and market needs.

"Moving forward, the prices of ART kits may decrease further as more options become available in the market."

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung had said in mid-November that people can expect to buy antigen rapid test kits at lower prices soon.

Watsons Singapore currently carries three brands of ART kits: Quidel QuickVue, Abbott Panbio and SD Biosensor. SD Biosensor is now S$5.70, where it used to be more than S$10.

"On an average, the per unit price of ART kit currently is close to S$6," it said.

Abbott Panbio COVID-19 antigen self-test kits on display at a pharmacy in Singapore on Dec 8, 2021. (Photo: CNA/Chew Hui Min)

Both Abbott and SD Biosensor test kits prices had fallen to about S$7 to S$8 in the last week of November, and have now gone down further.

"We expect that the prices of the ART kits will be kept competitive with more approved ART kits available in the market in the near future," said Watsons.

Unity currently offers four brands of ART kits: Roche, SD Biosensor, Panbio and Quickvue. Depending on the pack size and brand, the price of one kit ranges from S$5.25 to S$8.85, said a FairPrice spokesperson. 

"Prices are subject to market conditions, nonetheless, we are working closely with the authorities and our suppliers to ensure sufficient supplies and wider range to cater to the varying needs of the community," said the spokesperson.

Ms Jes Lim, SPD Scientific managing director, said that the maker of SD Biosensor test kits has been working to "optimise the manufacturing", and it has also looked at ways to reduce cargo and storage costs.

"I think both the manufacturer and the retailers have played a part in normalising the price," she said.

Source: CNA/hm(ac)

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