Local company draws complaints for advertising at-home COVID-19 test kits

Local company draws complaints for advertising at-home COVID-19 test kits

PITTSBURGH — Advertisements for what one company claimed to be at-home rapid test kits for COVID-19 had to be removed after drawing complaints.

The ads showed up on Compassionate Certification Centers’ website and Facebook page. It’s a medical marijuana dispensary with numerous locations in Pennsylvania, including one in Pittsburgh.

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The ad promised COVID-19 test results in 3-10 minutes through pricking your finger. The ad also told consumers they can buy the test online for $39.99 online and take it in the comfort of their own home.

The ad even said the tests were selling out.

However, the company that manufactures these tests -- Healgen Scientific -- told Channel 11 this appears to be misrepresenting what the tests are for.

“Our COVID-19 test kits can only be used in clinical laboratories and by healthcare workers at the point of care. We have contacted Compassionate Certification Centers and asked them to remove or revise the listing," said CEO Bryan Fang.

When Channel 11 contacted the FDA about these ads, officials sent us the following statement:

“At this time, the FDA has not authorized any test that is available to purchase for testing yourself at home for COVID-19. The agency cannot comment on specific companies or tests.”

However, a representative from Compassionate Certification Centers said the COVID-19 test kits were never sold and claimed someone from Healgen Scientific led them to believe the tests could be taken at home.

Compassionate Certification Centers said it never carried the test, claimed to have never sold it, and said the tests were never put in consumers’ hands.

A representative also said they planned on pulling the advertisements last Friday after finding out the tests are for professional use only but never got around to doing it until yesterday — which is the same time Channel 11 started asking questions.

The CEO for Healgen Scientific said the company has quality assurance in place and said they will start action to solve the issue.

Compassionate Certification Centers plan on using the kits professionally once the offices open back up.

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