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We rang every chemist to check if they have rapid antigen tests. Oh dear

By Peter Holmes

No rapid antigen tests are available. File picture.

At Peter Smith TerryWhite Chemmart on Summer Street, about every second customer on Tuesday came in to ask if there were any rapid antigen tests (RATs) for sale.

There were not.

Like at every other chemist in the city (see full list below), the pharmacy staff were waiting on more stock.

How long will they be waiting? Who knows.

When contacted by The Orange News Examiner on Tuesday afternoon, pharmacists across Orange had exactly the same story - we have no tests; we are trying all our wholesalers to source tests; the tests are on order; we don't know when they'll arrive.

Blooms the Chemist did have stock - tests in packets of 1, 2, 5 and 20, but it was long gone.

The staff are expecting more. At some stage.

A phone call to Chemist Warehouse was met with a recorded message advising people that "stock is being delivered into stores daily", but that no phone orders would be taken.

"Please visit," it said. But no detail on when during the day stock might arrive. A lucky dip.

Orange Compounding Pharmacy had similarly bad news. No tests available. On order. Don't know when they'll arrive.

At the Priceline Pharmacy there were 140 boxes of five tests available on Tuesday morning, but they fast disappeared.

There was a limit of two boxes per customer, at $59.99 each.

"It's just luck of the draw, it's absolutely crazy and there is extremely high demand," said Tammy Irwin from Priceline.

She said that while people could phone first thing Wednesday morning to see if stock had arrived and purchase over the phone, RATs could not be held without payment.

"We've been trying to order from everywhere," she said.

"We had single tests at first, then packets of seven, then five - we're trying to get whatever we can."

At Hogans Pharmacy, where the phones haven't stopped ringing, an order was made before Christmas. They are still waiting on stock.

The last shipment, before Christmas, disappeared off the shelves within a few hours.

McCarthy's Pharmacy was also waiting on an order. Staff were hopeful it would arrive by the end of this week. Or early next.

Starchem Pharmacy and North Orange Discount Drug Store were in the same boat. On order. Don't know when.

A staffer at one of the pharmacies expressed frustration with the state and federal governments: "They tell people not to get a PCR test [at a clinic] and to get a rapid antigen test, and then you can’t get any.”

At Molong Pharmacy a delivery of RATs was made on Tuesday morning, but staff told The Orange News Examiner at 2pm that they had almost gone, with the few remaining expected to be sold by 3pm Tuesday.

One pharmacist said there was some gouging on wholesale prices.


1. Peter Smith TerryWhite Chemmart

Waiting on stock

2. Blooms the Chemist

Waiting on stock

3. Chemist Warehouse

Recorded phone message says stock being delivered daily, no phone orders available.

4. Orange Compounding Pharmacy

Waiting on stock

5. Priceline Pharmacy

Waiting on stock

6. Hogans Pharmacy

Waiting on stock

7. McCarthy's Pharmacy

Waiting on stock, possibly end of week or next week

8. Starchem Pharmacy

Waiting on stock

9. North Orange Discount Drug Store

Waiting on stock

10. Orange Medical Centre Pharmacy

Phone rang out twice.

11. Molong Pharmacy

A delivery on Tuesday morning was almost sold out by early Tuesday afternoon, with the few remaining tests expected to be sold by about 3pm.


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