Available Now: Free COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits

It’s that time again when the cooties begin hopping around town and into your household. But are those sniffles and coughs due to allergies? A cold? Or could it be COVID? As your pharmacy knows, the only way to know for sure is to get tested. Testing is an important tool to keep yourself and others safe, and as of Monday, September 25, the federal government opened online orders for every U.S. household to place an order for four, free COVID-19 rapid tests. As an independent pharmacist, this is great information to pass on to your patients.

The available tests for order are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR tests. They’re also known as self-tests or over-the-counter (OTC) tests. The recommendation is to test twice before gathering with others outside your immediate household. So, take one test 24 hours before meeting up with loved ones and again right before you head out the door.

A note for your customers: Before tossing “expired” tests, check out the FDA’s “Authorized At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Test and Expiration Dates” website to see if your tests’ expiration dates have been extended.

Be sure to let patients know when you have OTC COVID-19 tests available in your pharmacy. That way, they know where to go to get tested if they haven’t received theirs in the mail yet or if their freebies are all used up. Those with Apple Health (Medicaid) can get at-home COVID-19 tests through September 2024.

Encourage patients who are high-risk, live with high-risk individuals, or visit high-risk people indoors to take extra precautions during respiratory disease season.

Important Reminders for Your Patients

  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 and flu vaccines
  • Practice good hand-washing hygiene
  • Mask in indoor public places
  • Test twice before gathering (24 hours apart)
  • Get treated with Paxlovid as soon as possible if infected with COVID-19
  • Order your four, free COVID test kits, online at covid.gov/tests or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489). Orders will ship free starting the week of October 2, 2023.

A Member-Owned Company Serving Independent Pharmacies

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and owned by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.

An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited secondary wholesaler with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.

Editor’s Picks


Elements is written and produced by PBA Health, a buy-side solutions company.

Sign up for a FREE subscription to Elements magazine!


Sign up to receive PBA Health’s e-newsletter to get the latest Elements web articles in your inbox every other week, along with industry news, supply chain insights, and exclusive offers.

Related Articles

Popular Articles