At-home COVID test rollout challenges local pharmacies in Nashville

At home covid test
Posted at 10:14 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 06:57:08-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — While the U.S. government has launched its website allowing each household to request four free at-home COVID tests, local pharmacies say the launch of that program is causing challenges for their customers who need the hard-to-find at-home tests immediately.

Ben Pietrzyk with Bradley Drug Company in Nashville said he had 600 tests ordered, scheduled to arrive at the pharmacy for his customers any day now.

But he said he just found out Tuesday that his order has been held at customs, and rerouted to the U.S. government for them to give out as part of the at-home testing program launched today.

"The tests that were earmarked for Bradley Drug in West Nashville are now being diverted to the federal government, so I'm not sure when we're going to have tests in stock here," Pietrzyk said.

The at-home COVID test website says tests will ship free starting late this month, which Pietrzyk says doesn't help his customers looking for them now.

"People need them today to be able to send their kids to school and back to work, and they're just not on the shelves anywhere," Pietrzyk said.

On top of that, Pietrzyk says, everyone from insurance companies to pharmacies are scrambling to meet the other White House guideline now in effect — with insurance companies now required to cover up to eight at-home tests per person, each month.

"We haven't had any guidance from insurance companies at this point," Pietrzyk says.

He says he's telling his customers to keep their receipts and try to get a reimbursement from their insurance company later, that is if they can find an at-home test at a store at all.