“Yes, we will,” Sánchez told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Monday when asked if his government would regulate the price of antigen tests.
The high demand and at times low supply of antigen tests in Spain has seen the price of antigen tests at least double at many pharmacies over the course of December, from around €4 to €8, in many cases more.
Sales shot up 67 percent in the week before Christmas, equalling seven million antigen tests sold, and ever-increasing Omicron cases are keeping demand up in January 2022.
“I’ve read criticism that antigen tests aren’t sold in supermarkets. Spain has opted for them to be sold in pharmacies firstly because of the guarantees they provide and secondly because it’s necessary to give the results of these tests to the regions’ public health officials,” Sánchez argued.
“There was a bottleneck over the Christmas period due to the exponential increase in demand but lower supply.
“This problem has been resolved and now we will focus on the control of prices of antigen tests,” the Spanish Prime Minister concluded, reminding the public that his government already reduced VAT on antigen tests in 2021.
The other important update by Spain’s socialist leader relates to the purchase in January of 344,000 doses of Pfizer’s new Paxlovid oral antivirals against Covid-19, which Sánchez said will reduce “by 88 percent the possibility of hospitalisation” and death in those who are most vulnerable to the disease, as clinical studies have shown.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorised the first pill against the coronavirus – Molnupiravir – last November.
Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill has received approval for emergency use by the FDA in the United States for high-risk patients over 12 and by the EMA for adult patients that don’t require supplementary oxygen but are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19.
Paxlovid is the first pill that reportedly stops the symptoms of Covid-19 and will require a medical prescription in Spain.
Pfizer’s clinical results for 2,200 test patients who were at high risk of developing serious Covid-19 and who took the pill found that Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death by 89 percent if taken within three days of the first symptoms and 88 percent within five days.
Another Paxlovid study showed that in people at lower risk of severe disease after contracting Covid-19, the risk of hospitalisation was reduced by 70 percent.