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COVID test sold in Woolies, Coles slapped with fine over safety, performance

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The supplier of a rapid COVID-19 test sold in Woolworths and Coles has rejected allegations it did not provide data to support the performance of its tests and its poor customer service after the medicines regulator slapped it with a $106,560 fine.

Hough Pharma, which makes the tests supplied at major retailers, was given the infringement notices over allegations it did not provide evidence to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) when requested about the safety and performance of three rapid tests.

The regulator has warned rapid COVID-19 test kit suppliers to take their obligations on data and customer service seriously. Credit:iStock

The TGA also claims that despite being required to have telephone and online customer service operators available seven days per week between 9.00am and 7.00pm, the company was found to have a lack of customer support.

“This compliance action serves as a reminder to companies to take their obligations seriously,” the TGA said in a statement.

However, Hough Pharma’s managing director, Jackson Hough, told the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age via email that the company had consistently provided data to the regulator.

“Hough Pharma has continually provided efficacy, safety and variant data to the TGA to demonstrate our products effectively detect COVID-19 and its variants,” he said.

He added that the company rejected allegations of a lack of customer service. “It is our intent to always deliver strong community engagement, holding our responsibility to provide safe and effective products for use by the Australian public above all else,” Hough said.

“We operate a 1800 number, in addition to email and SMS response options that are provided from 7 am–9 pm, seven days a week. We are committed to the highest levels of customer support and product performance.”

The business has been in touch with the TGA to provide evidence that its customer service meets requirements.

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