Non-Pharmacy Retailers Can Now Offer COVID PCR Tests to Customers

covid pcr test non-pharmacy retailers

Non-pharmacy retailers can now offer COVID-19 testing under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) program. The program expansion is being facilitated by health company eTrueNorth.

Here’s how it works:

  • Retailers that wish to participate will be provided a no-cost supply of COVID-19 at-home, self-collection, laboratory-based PCR test kits;
  • Consumers can register on the dedicated website, operated by eTrueNorth;
  • They then select their preferred location and schedule a date and time to pick up their free test kit;
  • After picking up the kit, the consumer will leave the store to perform the self-collection (nasal swab or saliva) and return the kit to the retailer drop-off receptacle;
  • Each day, the retailer will package completed test kits for pickup by a FedEx or UPS courier;
  • The test kits are then shipped to a certified laboratory for PCR analysis; and
  • Results are digitally communicated back to the individuals, typically within 48 to 72 hours.

This new model removes the traditional specimen collection “observation by a pharmacist or clinician” model, thereby expanding the range of retailers that can offer the service. The retailer’s sole role is distributing the free test kits and helping facilitate the shipment of specimens to the laboratory.

“This new model removes financial risk for retailers and will greatly expand access to COVID-19 test kits to Americans,” said Coral May, Co-founder and CEO of eTrueNorth in a statement. “Since consumers must schedule appointments for the test kits, retailers have control over the number of tests that can be picked up and dropped off each day, and the volume of testing can change over time. Thanks to HHS, the retailer can be compensated for each completed test that is distributed at their retail stores.”


Once a retailer expresses interest in helping expand COVID-19 testing to its local community, eTrueNorth will provide a contract, reimbursement setup and instructions on how to begin offering testing. Reimbursement occurs monthly.

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