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Nessel: Birch Run pharmacy suspected of price gouging at-home test kits

By BRIANNA OWCZARZAK

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    Birch Run, Michigan (WNEM) — A pharmacy in Birch Run is suspected of price gouging at-home COVID-19 test kits.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a notice of intended action (NIA) to Birch Run Drugs, along with two other pharmacies in the state, following complaints of price gouging.

Consumers complained Value Center Pharmacy II in Madison Heights and Skip’s Pharmacy in Holland were selling the kits for more than it should, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The two pharmacies attempted to justify their prices by providing invoices showing how much they paid to buy the kits from Birch Run Drugs, the Attorney General’s Office said.

Value Center Pharmacy was charging $50 per kit and Skip’s Pharmacy was charging $80 per kit, the Attorney General’s Office said.

“We have compared these prices with both those being offered online as well as those being charged by other Michigan pharmacies. The information we have gathered provides probable cause to believe Value Center Pharmacy and Skip’s Pharmacy were charging prices to consumers for the iHealth kit grossly in excess of the price at which this kit was being sold by other retailers,” the NIA states.

The iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test retails for $17.98 for a package of two tests.

The two pharmacies are owned by the same person, who also has a connection with Birch Run Drugs, the Attorney General’s Office said.

The pharmacies have been invited to explore a voluntary assurance agreement to avoid additional legal action. They have until Feb. 13 to respond.

“Our attempts to look into consumer complaints have been met with unnecessary roadblocks thus far, so it is my hope this can be resolved without needing to take additional action against these pharmacies,” Nessel said. “We will not stand for businesses exploiting this current wave of COVID-19 cases for monetary gain. If you believe the prices for at-home test kits or any other COVID-related item are higher than they should be, please contact our consumer protection team. We remain committed to addressing instances of price gouging.”

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