Antigen test prices will be set at a maximum of €2.94
Spanish government will regulate the price of the self-tests amid rising infections during the sixth wave of the pandemic
The price of self-performed antigen tests will be set at a maximum of €2.94, starting from this Saturday, January 15.
This comes after weeks of public outcry at the high prices of the tests compared to other European countries, leading the Spanish government to regulate their price.
A joint meeting led by Spain's health ministry, but also participated by the finance, economy and industry departments, as well as the regional governments across the country, resulted in a unanimous decision to make self-tests "as affordable as possible, while also keeping the necessary balance so that they are in stock."
The sales will continue to be only through pharmacies and not in supermarkets or other establishments, despite some institutions such as the Catalan Competition Authority (ACCO) suggesting they be should available also in stores and gas stations.
While ACCO officials side against price regulation because they fear that prices will soar when this period ends, health professionals think the opposite.
The chair of Catalonia’s Covid-19 Scientific Advisory Committee, Magda Campins, said on Thursday antigen tests should be free to take pressure off the health system.
Primary care centers overwhelmed
The sector has been calling for action to be taken as especially primary care centers are overwhelmed. The medical professionals' union Metges de Catalunya said doctors have to be able to prioritize dealing with symptoms, and not the paperwork related to the thousands of sick leaves generated by the high number of positive cases.
As such, sick leaves will automatically end in seven days if the patient no longer has symptoms, as announced by the Catalan health department in a press conference on Wednesday morning.
There are around 123,000 workers in Catalonia out sick due to Covid-19 right now, with some 3,500 of them being medical workers.
Catalonia amid sixth wave
Catalonia is currently undergoing the sixth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this latest wave has seen more new infections than at any other stage of the health crisis.
The past two weeks alone (December 30-January 12) have seen 345,083 newly confirmed Covid-19 cases in Catalonia. New infections, plus their close contacts, have led to a huge demand for antigen tests.
At the moment in most pharmacies across the country, the price varies between €5-€10, but over the course of the Christmas break, some 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.