Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley has issued a warning that her office will be vigilant in investigating and prosecuting cases of price gouging in the sale of at-home COVID-19 tests following Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent statewide Executive Order.
The Executive Order, which was issued this weekend, generally prohibits anyone who sold at-home testing kits as of Dec. 1, 2021 from increasing the price of the kit more than 10 percent over the Dec. 1 price. Any sellers who have not previously sold at-home COVID-19 test kits may not sell them for a price that is greater than 50 percent of what they paid for the kit themselves. There are some exceptions. The order is in effect until March 31, 2022.
The need for widely available, and affordable, COVID-19 at-home test kits has recently increased due to the Omicron variant of the virus. Access to at-home tests are vital to the safety and well-being of Alameda County residents.
“The law prevents businesses or individuals from profiteering when we are in a state of emergency. All residents of Alameda County must continue to have access to COVID-19 at-home test kits, especially with the heightened transmissibility of the Omicron variant,” said DA O’Malley. “My office will ensure that businesses adhere to the law and do not exploit consumers that are trying to protect themselves and their families.”
Any violation of the executive order would be a violation of Government Code section 8665, which is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to six months, or both.
Victims of price gouging, or anyone who has information regarding potential price gouging, can file a complaint with the District Attorney’s Office by emailing [email protected] or by calling (510) 383-8600.