WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Consumers may want to check the expiration dates if they ordered COVID-19 tests through the federal government recently. Although the actual expiration had already been extended by six months for the iHealth COVID-19 tests, some will still expire soon, NBC News reported.
Nora Boydston, of Douglas County, Colorado, was among those who ordered the four free tests in December, which arrived with expiration dates listed as this past July or August. Even after adding the extension by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, two of her tests expired Jan. 2, NBC News reported. The other two expire next month.
Zach Rogers had a similar experience, receiving tests in December that will expire on Valentine’s Day, NBC News reported. “That was a little disappointing, just given that there’s this new COVID variant going around and cases are continuing to go up,” said Rogers, who lives in Portland, Oregon. “I’m worried that I’m not going to have a test that is available, that hasn’t expired yet, in the event that I need it.”
Individuals ordering free tests can see a notice on the U.S. Postal Service site that advises checking the extended expiration dates on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. Consumers can find their test by batch lot number; the lot number is printed on the back of each test box.
Neither the FDA nor the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is in charge of the test distribution program, responded to requests for comment.
Susan Butler-Wu, M.D., an associate professor of clinical pathology at the University of Southern California, advised caution about using expired tests. The recommendation is to throw away tests that are actually expired, extension not included, Butler-Wu told NBC News. Anyone testing with an expired test should watch for the test’s pink control line to clearly appear. “If there’s any funky business with that control, that is not a valid test result and you cannot use that,” she said.
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