From next Saturday, all antigen tests sold in pharmacies across the country will cost no more than 2.94 Euros, as agreed by the Spanish government on Thursday.
Now that the national government has made this decision, from Saturday, January 15, antigen ‘rapid self’ tests will be available at roughly a third of the price they were before the new state regulation.
Before the regulation and with the extreme rise in demand, along with a shortage of supplies, antigen tests were being sold for more than double the price. On average people were paying anything from 4 to 10 Euros, sometimes even higher.
On Monday Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez made the announcement that his government would regulate the antigen test market to prevent this “bottleneck” from happening once again. Just three days later Spaniards have been given a start date and a confirmed price drop.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Health Minister Carolina Darias said, “The main objective has been to set a price that’s as affordable as possible, always maintaining the necessary balance so that the product is available in pharmacies.”
To reach the maximum price of 2.94 Euros, the cost of antigen tests throughout the distribution process has been taken into account, as has the price of these items in neighbouring countries, where in the majority of cases self-tests have been considerably cheaper than in Spain.
In neighbouring Portugal, the government there has already regulated the price of antigen tests which can be picked up at a maximum cost of 2.10 Euros.
France has also regulated the price of their tests although this is almost double that of Spain at 6.01 Euros.
In the UK, antigen tests are currently free to all citizens.
This welcomed announcement follows a unanimous decision by Spain’s Medicines and Health Products Price Commission, the Ministries of Finance and Economic Affairs and the country’s regional governments.
The new legislation still, however, does not include the likelihood of the tests being sold in supermarkets, as they are in other European countries. They will remain only available in pharmacies.
The Prime Minister said “I’ve read criticism that antigen tests aren’t sold in supermarkets. Spain has opted for them to be sold in pharmacies firstly because of the guarantees they provide and secondly because it’s necessary to give the results of these tests to the regions’ public health officials.”
Before the new regulation was agreed, pharmacy associations made a pact that they would retain the price of the antigen tests to between six and ten Euros, however as the demand for them grew, so did the price.
“We accept the price fix due to the commitment and vocation to public health and service that’s guided us during these two years of the pandemic,” said the president of Spain College of Pharmacists Jesús Aguilar in response to the decision made.
“The fixed price will lead to the majority of pharmacies to sell tests below the price they paid for them, but as pharmacists, we have always put the health of our patients first”.
Speaking on behalf of the distributors, Matilde Sánchez, the president of FEDIFAR, has accepted the maximum price because "extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures. Our commitment to citizens, we assume it ”.
The consumer association FACUA has described the government's decision to put a lid on the maximum price of 2.94 Euros as "disproportionate "
Even though the price is much lower than the indicative price they began to be sold at in pharmacies over the Christmas period, the FACUA considers that it continues to allow a "colossal" profit margin as the Government's decision "does nothing more than set an amount as a ceiling similar to the one that the tests were marketed in pharmacies before the sixth wave broke out as a consequence of the omicron variant".