White man pulling covid test out of foil wrapper

Expired COVID-19 test? How to check if it’s still good

By Christina Varvatsis, PharmD, BCPS Nov 30, 2022 • 2 min


Are there unopened COVID-19 tests sitting in your closet? A lot of people don’t realize that COVID-19 tests have expiration dates, because parts of the tests may break down over time and give inaccurate results. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend using expired COVID-19 tests. But some manufacturers have collected more stability data, and some tests may have FDA-authorized extended expiration dates. This means you may be able to use your test past the date listed on the package.

To find out if your test has FDA-authorized extended dating, follow these simple steps:

  1. Find your test’s name, manufacturer, expiration date and lot number. The lot number is typically located above the expiration date.
  2. Visit the FDA website, scroll down to the table and find your test. Be sure both the manufacturer and test name are correct since some manufacturers produce more than one test.
  3. Review the last column of the table for information on expiration dates. If your test has extended dating, there will be an “updated expiration dates” link to click where you can find your test’s lot number and new expiration date. If your lot number is not listed, you should follow the expiration date printed on the box. (Watch our video on expired COVID-19 tests here.)
     

If you still need more tests, you may be eligible to receive them at no cost through your insurance. Check with your insurance to see if they have preferred pharmacies, stores or retailers online when purchasing tests. You may get them free at the time you buy the test, or you may have to buy the test yourself and get reimbursed by your insurance later.

Remember to keep your receipt for reimbursement. Most health plans cover the cost of eight at-home tests per month for each individual on the plan — that’s 32 tests a month for a family of four! Find out if you’re eligible at Walgreens.com.

Published November 2022.