Faced with the sharp rise in prices in antigen tests and their shortage amid a wave of infections by the Omicron variant, the Spanish Government has decided to intervene.
According to the Minister Spokesperson for the Executive, Isabel Rodriguez, an interministerial commission of the government will set maximum prices for Covid-19 antigen tests on Thursday.
Rodriguez also confirmed that in Spain it will not be allowed to sell antigen tests in supermarkets, shopping centers and department stores, which is allowed by other European Union (EU) countries such as France, Portugal and Germany.
Some large retail companies such as El Corte Inglés, Carrefour or Alcampo have expressed their interest in selling antigen tests in their shops, but the government has decided not to authorize it "for security and guarantee to citizens."
Minister Rodriguez said that the government in these matters only trusts "pharmaceutical distributors and professional associations." Therefore, those who wish to buy tests in Spain should continue to go to pharmacies.
The person in charge of announcing the maximum prices of antigen tests will be the Spanish Minister of Health, Carolina Darias.
The escalating price of tests has been creating controversy in Spain since before Christmas, when millions of people wanted to take tests before family reunions.
According to data from the National Association of Large Distribution Companies (ANGED, in its Spanish acronym), in Spain antigen tests are sold for between 5 and 8 euros per unit, while in other large European countries such as France and Germany their normal price is lower than 2 euros.