The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has assured this Monday in an interview on Cadena Ser that he intends to regulate the price of antigen tests. Sánchez wanted to highlight the fact that when VAT was reduced on masks it also affected that on tests. He said that the objective in December was to overcome “the bottleneck” due to the lack of supply and the large increase in demand for self-diagnostics, but that now they are considering being able to limit prices: “We will mess with price control” , has assured, informs Víctor Ruiz de Almirón. However, neither the chief executive nor the Ministry of Health clarify how they intend to achieve this reduction in prices.
“We don’t know how they are going to do it. With the masks we ask for the same, because there was a shortage, with external agents that raised prices, and they did so through a change in regulations. This time I understand that will occur more immediately, because with the masks it took a while, “says Ana López Casero, spokesperson for the steering committee of the General Council of Pharmaceutical Colleges. Even so, he explains, there has already been a drop in antigen tests after Christmas, because now they can be found from five to seven euros, while during the festivities some people came to pay twelve.
Sánchez’s announcement, López Casero considers, is “very positive.” “We understand that this decision will help put an end to this situation in which, in addition to citizens, pharmacists have also been victims“, He says. It refers to the price increase that occurred during the Christmas holidays due to the shortage of this type of tests to detect the virus. “We have repeatedly denounced the appearance of agents outside the pharmacy sector who They took advantage of the situation and raised prices. If the pharmacists wanted to provide the service, they had to buy it more expensively and sell it more expensively, ”he laments.
The measure is late
Also from the General Council of Nursing (CGE) applaud the decision, although they believe it is late. They should have taken the measure earlier because the Christmas parties have passed, which is when there was a lot of demand “, underlines José Luis Cobos, third vice president of the CGE. The model to achieve this regulation, considers, It should be the same with which the price reduction of the masks was achieved. “The system could be the same because it worked with the masks. Put on a cap on the price and VAT was also reduced. The same in this case, which has already reduced VAT, would now consist of setting a maximum sale price to the public, “he says. Furthermore, in its view, that cost limit should also have an impact on the prices of tests carried out in private laboratories.
Even so, the Government continues to bet that the sale of antigen tests is carried out only in pharmacies and not in supermarkets as it happens in other nearby countries. «Our country is committed to the appropriate model for the sale of antigens, which is through pharmacies. The Ministry has already authorized 33 brands of self-diagnosis tests with CE marking and also exceptionally for professional use so that they can also be used for self-diagnosis, ”they explain from the Ministry of Health. Last December, the National Association of Large Distribution Companies (Anged) offered the Executive the possibility that this type of virus detection tests could be sold throughout its network of commercial establishments, made up of thousands of stores throughout the country. However, Anged sources indicate that they did not receive a response, although they remain open to the Government studying it.
“We believe that this is not the time,” says Cobos, who recalls that when dealing with health products, their sale, if the regulations are not changed, it has to be in pharmacies. “They are not normal consumer products, they are a very important diagnostic tool,” says López Casero, who highlights the help of the pharmacist when interpreting the result and the follow-up that is given in various communities, where the positives are reported directly to Health. “If you buy it in a supermarket, that information is lost. Trivializing the dispensing of tests is a mistake, it would be an unintelligent strategy, “he says.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism