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LA To Announce Penalties For Price Gouging On COVID Tests

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – With the demand for COVID-19 at-home tests soaring to unprecedented levels, there are reports across the region of price gouging.

Covid Testing Kits Handed Out At L.A.'s Union Station
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 07: COVID-19 rapid at-home test kits rest on a table at a free distribution event for those who received vaccination shots or booster shots, at Union Station, on January 7, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Thirty new deaths and over 37,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by Los Angeles County amid the continued spread of the Omicron variant. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer is slated to hold a news conference Thursday to address the issue. The city attorney's office noted that Feuer will "detail penalties, including fines and imprisonment, that price gougers could face."

Over the weekend, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order which prohibits retailers from raising the price of at-home testing kits by more than 10% of their regular retail price. They also cannot charge a price that is more than 50% higher of what they paid to the supplier for the kit.

"A seller cannot increase by more than 10% the amount that they're charging for a test kit versus what they charged before the governor's order and if they weren't selling it before, they can't charge more than 50%," Feuer said Tuesday.

Angelenos have been scouring retailers and testing sites for at-home kits. One man told CBSLA that she drove to more than five retailers looking for kits, before stumbling onto them at a testing site in West Hollywood.

"I went to five and I was not able to find a home test," Sam Luna said Tuesday. "I went to Walgreens and CVS, I was not able to find the test then I was literally driving from the CVS down the street, and saw this."

Earlier this week, a pharmacy in Agoura Hills was accused of selling COVID tests for more than double their regular retail price.

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