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NI firm Randox to make £120 home Covid-19 test kits available to public in fortnight

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Randox are to make Covid-19 tests available to the public.

Randox are to make Covid-19 tests available to the public.

Randox are to make Covid-19 tests available to the public.

Leading Northern Ireland laboratory Randox will be selling home testing kits to Northern Ireland's public again in a fortnight.

The Co Antrim firm told us it is currently clearing a backlog of supply orders for its tests to the NHS.

But a worker at the lab said it is planning to make sales of Covid-19 diagnostic kits to the public available again from the start of May.

When we called Randox Labs last week to ask about availability of coronavirus tests we were told: "They will be back on sale for £120 each in two weeks. We've got a backlog of orders from the NHS."

Meanwhile, the top firm has defended selling its coronavirus home testing kits to private clinics in England - which are flogging them for up to £400 each.

Randox Laboratories started selling its £120 Covid-19 tests to the public and private surgeries in March.

It has since emerged a series of pricey private clinics in the UK have been selling them on to rich clients for small fortunes.

Randox told Sunday Life "ethical questions" about test kit pricing should be directed to the its private clinic customers.

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Randox test for COVID-19

Randox test for COVID-19

Randox test for COVID-19

A spokeswoman for Randox said: "It is important to note that a number of the private clinics referenced as having resold Randox kits, are not direct customers of ours, and this is the reason we do not have control over their price.

"Randox has no control over what third party private clinics charge - or what their customers are prepared to pay - if they have accessed our kits.

"The question about whether the actions of the referenced private clinics are ethical, is best directed to those clinics."

Among private clinics selling on Randox-produced home testing kits is the Private Harley Street Clinic, which charged £375 each for the kits.

The clinic's owner Dr Mark Ali was reported to have made around £2.5million in a week from sales of the kits, which he boasted he had been flogging to "lords and ladies, knights, and even doctors and dentists who are worried about catching the disease".

Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth branded Ali's sales of the coronavirus tests "exploitative".

Among other costly surgeries Randox has been supplying is Summerfield Healthcare, which runs three private clinics in Derby, Shrewsury and Wolverhampton.

Summerfield has been flogging Covid-19 testing kits for £249.

Qured – a company that normally offers face-to-face private GP appointments within two hours at homes or workplaces in London – said in March it was supplied by Randox for its Covid-19 tests, which it was selling for £295.

A spokesman for the company has now revealed they are no longer sourcing their kits from Randox.

He stressed Qured’s £295 price included “two GP consultations – pre- and post- test – as well as two couriers – one to deliver the test and 30 minutes later to take the sample to the lab”.

Randox claims its test is the only one in the world that "can identify the lethal strain and differentiate between other non-lethal variants with the same symptoms".

The UK government has pledged to do 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of April, but is currently managing only about 20,000 daily.

Belfast Telegraph