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COVID-19 TESTS

Spain will regulate the price of antigen tests 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced on Monday that his government will control the rising prices of antigen tests in the country and buy thousands of doses of Pfizer's new antiviral pills, which trials have found to reduce the risk of Covid hospitalisation and death dramatically.

antigen tests spain
The price of antigen tests has on average doubled over the Christmas period in Spain. Photo: FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP

“Yes, we will,” Sánchez told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Monday when asked if his government would regulate the price of antigen tests. 

The high demand and at times low supply of antigen tests in Spain has seen the price of antigen tests at least double at many pharmacies over the course of December, from around €4 to €8, in many cases more. 

Sales shot up 67 percent in the week before Christmas, equalling seven million antigen tests sold, and ever-increasing Omicron cases are keeping demand up in January 2022. 

“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,” Sánchez argued.

“There was a bottleneck over the Christmas period due to the exponential increase in demand but lower supply.

“This problem has been resolved and now we will focus on the control of prices of antigen tests,” the Spanish Prime Minister concluded, reminding the public that his government already reduced VAT on antigen tests in 2021.   

The other important update by Spain’s socialist leader relates to the purchase in January of 344,000 doses of Pfizer’s new Paxlovid oral antivirals against Covid-19, which Sánchez said will reduce “by 88 percent the possibility of hospitalisation” and death in those who are most vulnerable to the disease, as clinical studies have shown. 

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorised the first pill against the coronavirus – Molnupiravir – last November. 

Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill has received approval for emergency use by the FDA in the United States for high-risk patients over 12 and by the EMA for adult patients that don’t require supplementary oxygen but are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19. 

Paxlovid is the first pill that reportedly stops the symptoms of Covid-19 and will require a medical prescription in Spain. 

Pfizer’s clinical results for 2,200 test patients who were at high risk of developing serious Covid-19 and who took the pill found that Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death by 89 percent if taken within three days of the first symptoms and 88 percent within five days.

Another Paxlovid study showed that in people at lower risk of severe disease after contracting Covid-19, the risk of hospitalisation was reduced by 70 percent. 

READ ALSO: Where to buy antigen tests in Spain and how much you should be paying

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COVID-19 TESTS

Covid or flu? Combo tests now available in Spain

Spanish pharmacies have started selling self-diagnostic tests which allow users to determine whether they have tested positive for flu or Covid-19. Here’s everything you need to know, from their price to how they work.

Covid or flu? Combo tests now available in Spain

As of September 2022, Covid-19 cases are dropping in Spain and the pandemic has for some
months now not dominated daily life in the country, with hardly any restrictions still in place.

However, there are still people dying from the virus and others suffering serious complications after becoming infected.

The recommendation from Spanish health authorities continues to be that if you have Covid-19 symptoms, you should get tested in order for you to take the necessary precautions with yourself and others.

Some people choose not to get tested because they assume that their symptoms are consistent with the common cold or the flu rather than the coronavirus.

That’s in part because clear Covid symptoms such as the complete loss of smell are far less prevalent now, whereas those that are common in flu and cold sufferers such as congestion, a cough, headaches, a sore throat and sneezing are the norm.

Fortunately, there’s now a quick and easy solution to this available in Spain which can help anyone resolve any doubts about what virus they have, if any. Combined tests which allow users to find out whether they’ve become infected with Covid-19, influenza type A or influenza type B (two different strains of the flu) are being stocked in pharmacies across Spain since September 4th.

Their price is €2.94, slightly higher than that of antigen tests, since the Spanish government began to regulate their cost following huge price hikes based on high demand over the 2021 Christmas period.

In terms of how they are used, it’s no different to how antigen tests work. The user puts the swab deep up one or two of their nostrils and then places the sample on the tester to be provided with a positive or negative result. It’s expected that as the cold weather arrives in Spain over autumn, these combined self- test kits will become increasingly popular.

In other Covid-19 news, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez recently announced the country’s health ministry will start administering coronavirus vaccines adapted to new variants in late September and early October, starting with the most vulnerable.

READ ALSO: EU approves new dual-strain Covid vaccines in time for autumn booster campaigns

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