Self-tests without a prescription available in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
self-tests available without prescription
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The next Council of Ministers is set to give the green light for the sale of self-tests for Covid-19. Furthermore, manufacturers of these tests, will also be allowed to advertise their product. This was announced by Health Minister Darias this week. 

Pharmaceuticals have been putting pressure on the Spanish government for some time, because they already had self-tests ready for sale. However, with the rapidly rising infection rates among unvaccinated young people in this fifth corona wave, the Minister of Health now sees the need for simple self-diagnosis for Covid-19. 

Self-tests an effective means of prevention among young people 

The sale of self-tests has been released from next week. Therefore, a prescription will no longer be required. Furthermore, Darias hopes testing for young people will be so accessible they can take immediate preventive measures in the event of a positive result. “It is necessary to expand the testing capacity of the National Health System to also detect people with mild or even no symptoms. This is often the case among the young. And thus prevent further expansion of the pandemic,” Darias said. 

Large demand for self-tests

Last May, Darias argued for the exclusive use of diagnostic tests within professional care. However,  pharmaceutical companies, and several autonomous regions have been asking to make the self-tests available without a prescription. At the time, these requests were repeatedly rejected by the government. 

Cumbre Villas

Currently, Sars-CoV-2 rapid tests are available in shops and pharmacies in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Portugal, Italy and Austria. Moreover, in some countries, a limited number of tests per person are even free. However, the Spanish minister has not yet given any further information regarding the pricing policy of diagnostic tests in Spain. 

According to Minister Darias, there is a clear difference in the infection rates of people over and under 40 years of age. In the first group, now that most people have been vaccinated, the infection rate is between 2.5 and 8.5 times lower than the average in Spain. The fewest infections are now registered in the age group 70-79 years. However, among teenagers (12 to 19 years) the infection rate is 23 times higher compared to this group. 

Rising curve always leads to more hospital admissions 

Despite the rapidly rising curve, hospital occupancy is not increasing proportionally. The death rate from Covid-19 also remains low, according to the minister. However, the minister called on everyone to remain cautious, because more infections will lead to more hospital admissions anyway. Darias also stated that she fully supports the autonomous regions that have tightened their measures again. 

Currently, just over 46% of the Spanish population is fully vaccinated, 59% have received at least one dose of vaccine. 

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