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Where can I buy antigen tests in Spain and how much do they cost?

How much should you be paying for an antigen test in Spain, where should you go if they sell out and where can you buy them at the best price? Here are the answers to these questions and plenty more info you may want if you need to get a "prueba de antígenos" soon.

A pharmacist conducts an antigen rapid test for COVID-19 at a pharmacy in Madrid. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)
A pharmacist conducts an antigen rapid test for COVID-19 at a pharmacy in Madrid. Prices vary considerably across Spain. Photo: Ben STANSALL / AFP

With just nine days to go until Christmas and cases rising, many are relying on antigen tests to keep themselves and their loved ones safe this holiday season.

Spain’s latest 14-day incidence rate for Covid-19 infections stands at 441 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and with fears of even more cases on the horizon due to the new Omicron variant, people are testing more than ever. 

As a result of this and the approaching holiday season, antigen tests have been selling at rapid speed across the country and in some places have even sold out.

Health experts who advise Spain on public health have recommended that those who attend Christmas dinners with family and friends undergo an antigen test beforehand.

Sales of antigen tests have in fact increased by 545 percent since November, according to the IQVIA consultancy firm, specialised in research and analysis of health-related data.

In Barcelona for example, two pharmacies on one of the main streets in the Old Town – Via Laietana – have been selling between 30 and 40 tests per day, while other pharmacies in the city centre have completely sold out.

READ ALSO – Q&A: What you should know before getting an antigen test for travel to and from Spain

Where can you buy antigen tests in Spain?

The easiest and cheapest places to buy lateral flow antigen tests in Spain are local pharmacies. They have been available to buy in pharmacies without a prescription since July 2021. 

There are currently nine different makes of antigen tests which have been authorised to be sold in Spanish pharmacies. 

You can buy individual tests or in boxes of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 250 and up to 500. 

If you can’t get them from your local pharmacy because they’ve sold out, you can always book one from a testing centre.  

Companies such as UniLabs and Synlabs have centres in most big Spanish cities, but there are many other local testing centres too.  

Antigen tests are generally more expensive in Spain than in other European countries.
Antigen tests are generally more expensive in Spain than in other European countries. Photo: Ben STANSALL / AFP

Some places request that you book an appointment beforehand, while others say that you can just turn up and wait. 

While getting a test done at an official testing centre means you can ensure it’s done correctly by the professionals, it’s not so easy as doing one at home before you go to someone’s house for Christmas dinner, for example.

The other downside is that they cost a lot more than the tests at the pharmacies.

Of course, if you have Covid-19 symptoms or if you test positive on the antigen test, you should contact your local health centre as it is likely they will want you to come in for a PCR test, instead of just doing the lateral flow one.

“They will not be considered for the diagnosis of an active infection,” explains the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (Aemps). 

How much do antigen tests cost in Spain?  

Depending on the area or region you live in or even in the pharmacy you go to, the price of antigen tests can vary a lot. The average cost across the country is between €3 and €8 per test, but you can find them both more expensive and cheaper than this. 

In larger cities such as Barcelona, the amount is usually set at €8, although they can be found cheaper, in neighbourhoods outside the city centre for €5.90.

In some Spanish towns within metropolitan areas, the price can drop to €4.90.

However, the prices of the tests have increased in recent weeks because of the extra demand. “We are not going to sell tests again for €4 because now they cost us €7”, said one pharmacy in Madrid.  

Spanish journalist and lawyer Enrique Ordiales wrote on Twitter: “They just told me in a pharmacy that each antigen test now costs €10.95. The price has gone up a lot. You know, high demand, low supply.”

Tweet from Spanish journalist and lawyer Enrique Ordiales.

Not all pharmacies a reacting the same way though and many still want to keep the prices low. Another pharmacy in the Menéndez Pelayo area of Madrid sells tests for €3.90 and does not plan on increasing the price.

If you buy tests in bulk, this can also bring the price down, with one pharmacist in Seville saying that he sells tests for €2.20 if you buy 23 tests or more. 

Antigen tests are considerably more if you buy them from a testing centre, costing on average from €25 to €40 per test, but some places charge even more than this.

Free tests 

But the prices of antigen tests are not expensive everywhere, in fact in Madrid they have promised a free antigen test for pretty much every madrileño, who number 6.6 million across the region, 3.2 million in the city.

These are for “whenever there are social gatherings, for it to be done safely,” Madrid’s regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso said. 

Madrid’s regional government has bought 4 million antigen tests which will be made available in 3,000 pharmacies from December 15th, so it won’t cover everyone in the region.

Residents will have to show their Madrid regional health card at the chemist whilst those with private health insurance can simply show their ID to get a free test.

Castilla-La Mancha regional president Paco Núñez has also proposed distributing a free antigen test to each resident of the region, as well as financing 50 percent of a further two tests.

There are more calls within Spain for the price of antigen tests to be driven down or that costs are controlled by the Spanish government as in the case of the fixed 4 percent VAT for facemasks introduced in November 2020 and recently extended by tax authorities.

Member comments

  1. The last time I bought an at-home antigen test in USA it cost me a whopping $95 US. Needless to say, I’m happy to by them in Madrid for 5,95€.

  2. This morning in Barrio de Las Letras (Madrid Centro), I went to six pharmacies and only one had tests in stock. They were charging 60€ per test. I can go to a local lab that is open seven days a week and delivers results in 15 minutes and get one done for 50€.

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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