High-Tech’s Business Model Hasn’t Worked for the Cue Covid Test

by | May 20, 2022 | Health

“I’ve got this,” coos Gal Gadot in Cue Health’s Super Bowl TV commercial. Cue hired the “Wonder Woman” actress to be the voice of the company’s new high-tech covid-19 testing device. The ad pushes the notion that the at-home covid test produces results equal in accuracy to a lab-based PCR test and surpasses it in convenience.

What it doesn’t mention is the price: $249 for the reusable device and $195 for a pack of three tests.

Even as the number of covid cases waned during the winter, many people who saw the ads wondered whether the device — no matter how convenient or technologically wondrous it might be — has the right approach. High-tech startups eager to disrupt the health care industry are relying on a tried-and-true marketing strategy: price it high for early adopters and then lower the price as the market grows.

To take the Cue test, users swab their nostrils with a special wand, insert the wand into a cartridge, and then the cartridge into a white, cube-shaped reader. Within 20 minutes, results are transmitted via Bluetooth to Cue’s smartphone app. Those who purchase a $900 annual subscription can access a physician via the app, to certify the results as valid for travel or other purposes.

A highly accurate at-home covid test …

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