Spanish government to regulate antigen tests prices

Executive will also buy 344,000 doses of Pfizer Antiviral Pill for Covid-19

A girl performing a self-test in a pharmacy, on December 28, 2021 (by Pol Solà)
A girl performing a self-test in a pharmacy, on December 28, 2021 (by Pol Solà) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 10, 2022 09:24 AM

The Spanish government will regulate antigen tests prices after the huge demand during the Christmas holidays of these tests, Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez said on Monday morning during an interview in Spanish Cadena SER radio. 

"The debate before and during Christmas was in regards to the exceptional demand," said Sánchez. Once the issue has been solved, he added the Spanish government will "focus on regulating these tests prices." 

The prices have been decided by pharmacies, as these tests have been available since July 2021 on these establishments. However, some concerns have been raised during the Christmas holidays as other European countries have different protocols regarding rapid antigen tests. 

For example, in France, tests are sold in pharmacies and in supermarkets at price cost with no benefit for sellers. In other countries, such as in the United Kingdom rapid tests are available for free whereas in Italy these tests have a similar price to Spain.

Antiviral Pill for Covid-19

Spain’s executive will buy up to 344,000 doses of Pfizer’s Antiviral Pill for Covid-19, announced Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez. 

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) advised to use this treatment for adults with Covid-19 who "do not require supplemental oxygen and who are at increased risk of progressing to severe disease," EMA said after studying the medicine

The pill has to be administered as soon as possible after a diagnosis of Covid-19 and within five days of the start of symptoms. 

Sánchez explained that the antiviral pill "reduces hospitalization risk by 88%." 

Covid-19 to be treated like the flu

The government is planning to change protocols and manage Covid-19 as the flu, Sánchez said. One of the measures, announced by the Spanish El País newspaper is to stop counting each new coronavirus case.

"Slowly," the Spanish PM said as the decision has to be taken on a European level and with the help of experts. However, "parameters have to be different to the ones in place until now," as the conditions are different, said during the interview while highlighting the descend in mortality compared to the first wave of the pandemic 

Antigen tests sold out

This kind of test was one of the most searched items during Christmas. Most pharmacies in Catalonia run out of rapid tests. The last weeks of the year saw a rise in new Covid cases and people gathering indoors.

That is why pharmacies had signs on the door indicating that they have no tests left, while others have been telling customers to come right after they are delivered as they tend to sell out quickly.

"Demand for them has multiplied exponentially," Toni Veciana, the head of the Col·legi Oficial de Farmacèutics de Tarragona pharmacists association, told the Catalan News Agency on December 29. "This has led to some stressful moments and made it difficult to find antigen tests in pharmacies.