Home News Spain caps Covid self-test kit price over rising criticism

Spain caps Covid self-test kit price over rising criticism

Published on January 13, 2022

Spain on Thursday agreed to cap the cost of Covid self-testing antigen kits at just under three euros after the government came under increasing pressure from critics over high prices.

The measure, which comes into force on Saturday, follows weeks of pressure over the soaring price of home tests with customers paying between 7 and 12 euros for a single test.

“The agreement adopted by consensus… has been to set the maximum retail price of the antigen test at 2.94 euros ($3.40),” said Health Minister Carolina Darias.

Darias also said Spain was opening up the third vaccine to those aged between 18 and 39, and that it would now be available five months after having the second dosis rather than the previous waiting time of six months.

Critics say the price cap has come far too late following soaring demand for tests over the Christmas holidays as Omicron cases exploded, causing supply shortages and soaring prices.

“If (Prime Minister Pedro) Sanchez had any sense, antigen tests would be free. We demand he subsidise them so the maximum price is set at 2 euros,” Teodoro García Egea of the right-wing opposition Popular Party tweeted on Wednesday, two days after the premier pledged to cap the cost.

And consumer rights association FACUA said the new price was “totally unreasonable” and higher than that set in other EU countries, allowing producers to continue making “an enormous profit margin”.

Asked why the price had not been fixed earlier, Darias said it was to protect supply. “The aim was to guarantee supply and once that was established, we moved to regulate the maximum retail price,” she said.

Like most countries in Europe, Spain has been grappling with a surge in Covid cases sparked by the Omicron variant, counting a record number of 179,125 new infections within 24 hours on Wednesday.

So far, the country has confirmed 7,771,367 Covid-19 cases and 90,508 deaths since the pandemic took hold in March 2020.