The GVH also investigates the domestic market for rapid COVID-19 antibody tests*
25 February 2022, Budapest – The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has launched an accelerated sector inquiry into the domestic market for rapid antibody tests that can detect the presence of antibodies against coronavirus because it suspects distortions of competition.
After rapid home tests for coronavirus infection, the GVH also launched an accelerated sector inquiry into the domestic market for the so-called rapid antibody tests. Rapid antibody tests do not detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself, but the presence of antibodies produced by the body against the virus in the blood. The products are basically designed to show, mainly as a self-test, whether the person being tested has already been exposed to the coronavirus or has immunity to it.
There are a number of rapid tests available to consumers in Hungary for this purpose; however, the picture varies widely as to which antibodies each rapid test can be used to detect. The presence of different antibodies can be detected at different times: immunoglobulin M (IgM) appears in the body within a few days after infection and is typically undetectable four weeks after the onset of symptoms, whereas immunoglobulin G (IgG) appears later, usually after two weeks, and can be detected for several months. Therefore, these products are only able to fulfil their self-testing purpose if a rapid test to detect the right type of antibody is used at the right time.
Based on market indications, the GVH considers it likely that certain nationwide advertising practices targeting consumers in relation to rapid antibody tests may go beyond the performance of the products as defined by the manufacturer and the intended use as described in the instructions for use. This may also have affected competition in the market between companies producing or distributing the products, which may have therefore been distorted or restricted.
The results of the investigation will be summarised in a report by the competition authority, following a public market consultation. The GVH will have one month to prepare its draft report, which may be extended twice, up to one month each time, where justified.