QUIETLY AND WITHOUT MUCH ATTENTION, online retailing giant Amazon began to sell a COVID-19 molecular test to consumers for at-home testing. This is consistent with other actions Amazon has taken to generate revenue during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
The test Amazon sells is the DxTerity COVID-19 Saliva at-Home Collection Kit. The test was developed by DxTerity, a company based in Rancho Dominguez, Calif. DxTerity has an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this test. It performs the tests in a CLIA-certified lab facility.
$110 for COVID-19 Test
Amazon charges $110 for a single COVID-19 test kit. It also will sell a 10-pack bundle for $1,000. On its website, Amazon says, “Prepaid express return shipping is included with the test. Results are available within 24 to 72 hours of sample receipt at the laboratory. Refund policy: the kit is not returnable once purchased and must be used within 60 days of purchase.”
Currently, the DxTerity COVID-19 test kit is the only COVID-19 test offered by Amazon on its website. However, Amazon has a full section devoted to selling businesses a range of products they can use during the pandemic. These products range from protecting patients and staff to maintaining clean facilities and implementing social distancing.
Another national retailer selling at-home COVID-19 saliva test kits is Costco. Walmart and Sam’s Club also are selling at-home COVID-19 test kits, however, at time of purchase the customer must complete a survey. If appropriate, a physician’s order is generated to allow the purchase to proceed. The test collection kit is mailed to the customer who then self-collects the sample and mails it to the lab for results.
To provide SARS-CoV-2 tests for its own employees, as early as last May, Amazon began building and operating multiple clinical laboratory facilities located near its distribution centers across the United States. Amazon employs almost one million people, so this COVID-19 testing program is of significant size and scale. (See TDR, Aug. 3, 2020.)
The Dark Report predicts that Amazon is unlikely to close down its clinical laboratory facilities once the pandemic has subsided. With one million employees, plus their family members, the company would have substantial economies of scale to perform routine lab tests for its employees and beneficiaries.
It would be consistent with Amazon’s business strategy to enter the clinical laboratory market and attempt to disrupt it. Further, with the experience it gains from selling at-home COVID-19 test kits to consumers during the pandemic, it may believe it can also develop a lucrative consumer direct access testing (DAC) business in coming years.