At a press conference on Thursday, Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias said the “main objective was to set a price that is as affordable as possible, taking into account the margin for pharmacies, which are the only sales point for the self-tests in Spain”.
Following other countries
According to the Ministry of Health, one factor taken into account was the price in other countries. We looked at the sales prices from July, when the product was introduced in Spain. We also took into account the margin of the pharmacies. These factors gave us direction, taking into account that the product is exempt from VAT,’ Darias explained. The agreement, effective from Saturday, applies to all antigen tests sold in pharmacies and accepted by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS).
Mainly positive reactions
The maximum price is welcomed by a large part of the health and pharmaceutical sector. This measure is considered necessary, although the government is a bit late. Furthermore, the maximum price should have been in place before Christmas, according to the sector. Because, at that time, the number of infections caused by the Omicron variant increased enormously. And, therefore, the demand for self-tests grew rapidly.
Difficult situation for pharmacists too
The board of the Spanish pharmacists’ association CGCOF stresses the establishment of a maximum price ‘will help put an end to a situation that has been repeatedly denounced and to which pharmacists have fallen victim, with excessive price increases and tensions in the market caused by forces outside the pharmaceutical channel’.
Nurses are also in favour of the introduction of a maximum price. It is not logical, in the current situation with so many infections, antigen tests are used for purely lucrative purposes. From the beginning we have argued that these tests should preferably be carried out by healthcare professionals. It makes no sense that, after the liberalisation of sales more than six months ago, people started speculating.
The exorbitant price increases in mid-December prompted us to issue a warning and ask the government to intervene,’ said Florentino Pérez Raya, chairman of the General Council of Nurses CGE.