Spanish Pharmacies Begin Selling Rapid COVID-19 Tests Without Prescription

Spanish Pharmacies Begin Selling Rapid COVID-19 Tests Without Prescription

MADRID (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 21st July, 2021) Pharmacies in Spain have begun selling rapid COVID-19 tests without a prescription on Wednesday, though it is not easy to buy the test everywhere, at least in Madrid, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

On Tuesday, the Spanish government approved legislation according to which pharmacies can sell rapid COVID-19 tests without a prescription. The next day, the document was published in the Official State Gazette, after which the bill was considered to have come into force.

"The situation with the health crisis caused by COVID-19 makes it necessary to increase the diagnostic capacity of the national health system in order to quickly confirm suspicions of positive cases of SARS-CoV-2 in order to take appropriate measures, and thus effectively control the development of the pandemic, and at the same time provide help to those affected by the pandemic and help them recover," the document said.

The government believes that the open sale of tests will help "facilitate access to improve diagnostic capacity and improve the early detection of suspected positive cases."

However, many pharmacies are not ready to sell the tests, which theoretically should already have been on sale throughout the country. In two pharmacies in Madrid, the Sputnik correspondent was told that they had tests, but they could not sell them since the decree had not been published. Arguments that the document had been published were simply not heeded.

The employees of a third pharmacy also said they were waiting for the publication, but then clarified the information and agreed that sale was possible. According to the pharmacist, the drug store has received about 10 tests, with a pricetag just over 8 Euros ($9).

The pharmacist said that it was extremely difficult to receive any non-urgent medical care in Spain in the last year and a half and since a prescription was needed to buy a test before, pharmacies sold very few of them.

According to distributors, the situation should now change for the better. RYPO, an importer and sales company for medical supplies, predicts that rapid COVID-19 test sales will grow by 200% following the cancellation of prescriptions. The company sells tests to pharmacies at prices ranging from 3 to 7 euros.

"Currently, the pandemic is affecting young people first, and it is more important than ever to facilitate unrestricted access to diagnostic tests fast, safe, and easy," the RYPO co-founder, Gonzalo Diaz, said.

Test results come back in fifteen minutes and rapid COVID-19 tests help to avoid possible new cases, as well as unnecessary self-isolation if the person is not sick, he believes.

Spanish pharmacies are to receive two types of nonprescription tests: one for antigens, the results of which can be obtained within the first seven days of illness, and one for antibodies. The test accuracy is 91.63% with a positive result and 99.84% with a negative one.

Spain is now going through a fifth wave of the pandemic. Over the past 14 days, 295,000 cases of infection have been registered. In comparison with the previous waves, in this one young people are most infected. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 4.2 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the country, while the death toll has risen to more than 81,000 people.