Society 13/01/2022

The maximum price of antigen tests will be €2.94

Spanish government sets price cap after recent price hikes

2 min
A pharmacist dispensing an antigen test

MadridAntigen tests sold by pharmacies will have a maximum price of €2.94 as of Saturday. This is the decision taken unanimously by the Interministerial Commission on Drug Prices (CIMP) after the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, announced on Monday the executive's intention to limit the price of these self-diagnostic tests that pharmacies have been allowed to sell since July. The agreement comes after a complicated few weeks, in which there have been supply problems for many pharmacies throughout the state. "The objective is to fix a price as affordable as possible to maintain the necessary balance in the market", justified the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, in a press conference.

Antigen tests have become another diagnostic tool in the fight against coronavirus. During the weeks prior to the Christmas vacations and in view of the increase in the number of Omicron cases, their demand skyrocketed, which caused problems for pharmacies to be able to respond. In Catalonia, this led to a four-fold increase in prices a week before Christmas. Until now, the cost of these tests ranged from €4 to €10, but the Spanish government has finally decided to limit the price to make them more accessible.

Sánchez explained on Monday that until now the government had not opened taken action to limit these prices because their supply had to be guaranteed first. According to the Ministry of Health, at this point there are about 40 brands of test on the market compared to 22 in November. Pharmacies are the only establishments authorised to sell them and, at present, the Spanish government has not authorised sale in places such as supermarkets, as requested by some opposition groups and as some countries such as Portugal are doing.

Antigen tests will become a fixed-price health supply, as happened with masks. The Spanish government decided to limit their price in April 2020 and lowered it even further (to 72 cents) in November this year. In parallel, the executive also decided to apply the super-reduced VAT rate of 4% to this product.

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