Antigen test price maximum of €2.94 comes into force
Pharmacists welcome measure but are critical that it was not brought in sooner
A price cap on at-home antigen tests of €2.94 came into force in Catalonia and across Spain on Saturday, a result of the Spanish's government's decision to regulate prices after weeks of public outcry at the high cost of tests compared to other European countries.
Pharmacists in Catalonia welcomed the move but said that it should have been brought in sooner.
"When Omicron's [high] transmissibility was detected, mass screening should have been organized," said Òscar Doñate, a pharmacist and Fefac (Catalan Federation of Pharmacy Associations) board member.
Doñate is able to sell antigen tests "without losing money" as suppliers have adjusted their prices but colleagues who bought in bulk before the price cap was announced have paid for "thousands at a higher cost and now do not know what to do with them," he said.
Campins: Tests should be free
Antigen tests should be free in order reduce the pressure on primary care, according to the president of Catalonia's Scientific Advisory Committee on Covid-19, Magda Campins.
Speaking on Catalunya Ràdio on Thursday, the head of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology of Vall d'Hebron Hospital said that they had been demanding free rather than cheaper tests for several weeks.
Before the price cap, in most pharmacies across Catalonia the cost of antigen tests varied between €5-€10, but over the course of the Christmas break some tests were sold for as high as €30, as reported by local media outlet 3/24.
In some other countries, such as France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, antigen tests are free.