A Rapid Antigen Test

Who’s Making The Big Bucks On RATs?

The sale of rapid antigen test’s has skyrocketed over the last two months due to the surge in Omicron cases across the nation.

Since December, hundreds of thousands of tests are being sold on a daily basis and the demand has far outgrown the supply. Some companies have made it compulsory for employees to take a daily RAT test, many people are asking friends to take a test before catching up and in some states, school kids will be testing twice a week. 

So, who exactly is profiting from this boom? 

Journalist Michael Roddan of the Australian Financial Review has been following the trend closely since its beginning. 

He says of the two dozen test manufacturers that have gained the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) approval, only 1 is Australian and the vast majority are a “gaggle of Chinese manufacturers”. They are selling tests at a wholesale price of about $3 to $5 dollars per test which means retailers and suppliers are marking up the prices by at least 100%.

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What’s interesting is the fact that small-time, local entrepreneurs have steered the wheel of RAT distribution in response to the government’s lack of action. 

Tests have been in short supply ever since the boom. Image: Bianca Di Marchi

So, how’s the market going to look long term? 

If the pundits are right and we are passing the peak of Omicron, then logically you’d think that the testing sort of mania that’s going on right now is going to subside. And we’re just going to be neck deep in all these tests that we’re never going to use.

Michael Roddan, Journalist of Australian Financial Review

Will the sale of rapid antigen tests eventually plateau or is this the beginning of a multi-billion dollar industry? 

That’s on today’s episode of The Briefing.