Abbott, Walgreens partner on boosting COVID-19 testing in Philadelphia
Abbott (NYSE:ABT) and Wallgreens announced a pilot program designed to increase access to rapid COVID-19 testing in Philadelphia.
Under the newly formed partnership, Pennsylvania Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cardholders in Philadelphia will be able to receive Abbott’s BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen self tests weekly at no cost, according to a news release. Customers can visit any of 16 Walgreens’ 16 locations within Philadelphia’s city limits over the span of the program, which ranges all the way through the July 4 holiday.
Each cardholder can receive two test packs (two-count) per family member per week for up to five household members, totaling 10 packs (20 tests in total) per week for a cardholder, their spouse and their three dependents. Each family member would be able to test themselves twice over three days with at least 36 hours between tests.
Through the pilot program, Abbott and Walgreens aim to increase the understanding of how testing can be made more accessible to underserved and vulnerable communities.
Both companies plan to analyze the logistical and operational components of the 30-day pilot and, upon completion, share information with local, state and federal government officials along with interested non-governmental organizations with interest.
The U.S. government is not involved in the program and no public funds are being utilized to subsidize the cost of the tests. EBT cards will serve as a visual verification of eligibility only, meaning no personal information will be recorded.
“We have made enormous strides with COVID-19 testing over the past year and today rapid self testing is broadly available,” Abbott EVP of rapid & molecular diagnostics Andrea Wainer said in the release. “Through this pilot, we hope to take learnings and share them with governments and health authorities to ensure that more people have access to rapid testing so we can return to the daily interactions we’ve missed.”
“Walgreens remains diligent in advocating for increased access to COVID-19 testing. We continue to listen to the needs of our communities and this tailored pilot program aims to increase access for our customers and patients in the fight against COVID-19,” added Walgreens divisional VP of clinical performance Mike Umbleby. “We want people to have peace of mind and comfort as they make decisions on how to resume activities while we make our way through the pandemic.
“We’re proud to test this pilot in the city of Philadelphia, as well as continuing to offer a suite of services like free drive-thru testing at 6,000 locations and expanded OTC testing options for people who are asymptomatic and unable to make an appointment or need a quick result from home.”