Covid tests reach pharmacies

Minister Carolina Darias announced during her appearance in the Congressional Health Committee that next Tuesday the Council of Ministers will approve a decree that will allow anyone to buy tests to detect COVID without the need for a prescription.


That means that, in effect, pharmacies will be able to sell these products from next week, something for which the pharmaceutical sector has been pushing for weeks. In this sense, and taking into account the vertiginous advance of the fifth wave, the minister declared that it is “very important to establish self-diagnostic measures.” “It is necessary to increase the diagnostic capacity of the National Health System” for mild cases “and even asymptomatic”, because as Darias explained, “most” of the cases detected in the age group between 12 and 29 years do not have symptoms. The objective of the measure is “to control the progression of the pandemic,” said the minister.


The tests to be sold


In the draft of the regulation published in May that Health raised, it was established that the sale of antigen and antibody tests will be allowed. This measure, according to the text, will allow “to reduce to a certain extent the care pressure in health centers and will allow the rapid identification of suspected positive cases.”


How will they work?


The tests approved for sale are the rapid detection tests, which are the cheapest, but also the least reliable. The antigen test takes 15 minutes to show the result, although the reliability is lower than that of a PCR. These tests will be performed through nasopharyngeal or nasal exudate, although according to the manufacturer, in some cases it can also be performed with saliva samples.


Health has not made public the price at which these products will be sold in the pharmacy, but, as 20Minutos collects, in other countries where this measure has already been applied the price is different. In Portugal it varies between 7 and 10 euros, while in France it is 5.20 euros since the price is regulated. Belgium authorized a price of between 7 and 8 euros, while in Germany the cost of the tests is between 5 and 10 euros.