Following a change in legislation on November 1, allowing rapid COVID-tests to be completed without a medical professional, e-commerce retailer Medcart is now selling them to businesses, which are in turn saving thousands of dollars in costs.

Founded by Phil Leahy to digitise the distribution of PPE across Australia in the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak, Medcart is now a fully-fledged consumer and business marketplace selling medical goods online.

Leahy tells RetailBiz, “I launched Medcart out of need. There were bottlenecks and a lack of innovation in the industry. Australian [medical] manufacturers were great at manufacturing things, but not great at getting them to people.”

Medcart now has 55 different retailers selling on its marketplace, and Leahy says its growing every week.

The rapid tests cost between $11 to $15 dollars per unit, depending on how quick a result they give. The faster the result, the more expensive the test, says Leahy.

He cites the example of online clothing business Birdnest, which has 150 staff, 90 of which are in the distribution centre on any given day.

According to Leahy, they were spending close to $40,000 a month in Covid tests, due to the need to also pay health professionals to deliver them. By being able to test staff at home, before they come in, using over-the-counter available tests, it should cost much less, and potentially prevent COVID-positive staff from entering the workplace at all.

While Leahy expects the tests will become one of the more popular items on Medcart, its current bestseller is still Australian-made PPE.

“We do want to maintain a core of quality, Australian-made products. Whatever we can get our hands on in terms of Australian made, we want to promote that.

“We’re proud, 80 to 90% of our products aren’t Australian made, but 80% of our sales are,” Leahy says.