Health, reluctant to do antigenic tests in pharmacies as requested by Madrid and Catalonia

Published: Wednesday, November 18, 2020 10:30 a.m.

Madrid and Catalonia have pledged to carry out mass antigenic tests in pharmacies, a measure that does not convince the Ministry of Health and which will likely be on the table today at the Interterritorial Health Council.

In this regard, the Secretary of State for Health, Silvia Calzón, stressed this Wednesday on ‘TVE’ that the measure “must continue to be studied” and warned against the risk of generating “false security” with this type of test.

As he warned, aside from testing close contacts and symptomatic patients during the first five days, “great care must be taken in the interpretation of these tests.” “Imagine the risk that is assumed in a population when false negatives can arise and someone can have false peace of mind in saying that they are not infected and continue to be infected,” he said. he warned.

However, Fernando Simón stressed on Monday that getting them in pharmacies could be of significant help against the coronavirus, although he warned that one should be aware of the associated risks and legal and jurisdictional issues that could arise.

Madrid insists on testing in pharmacies

For his part, Madrid’s Deputy Minister of Public Health, Antonio Zapatero, defended this Wednesday on “Antena 3” the effectiveness of antigenic tests, stressing that they are “a fundamental tool for controlling the pandemic”.

“We are in a pandemic and we must take exceptional measures”, declared Zapatero, on the fact that they are carried out by pharmacists, specifying that – to the detriment of the analysis of the architecture of the premises, “in the great majority of pharmacies can search for antigens. ”

“Laws can be changed and adapted to the situation we find ourselves in,” he stressed, noting that Madrid has carried out 700,000 antigen tests in the past six weeks. Likewise, he argued that Madrid would announce “a test structure” for the coming months which, among other things, “will go through pharmacies”.

Already at the beginning of the month, Madrid asked the Spanish Medicines Agency (AEMPS) that the network of pharmacies in the region can carry out the tests, as has already been done in some Galician municipalities as a pilot test.

However, AEMPS did not authorize the executive of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who even addressed the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, asking for her permission to perform these tests in pharmacies.

Escudero says Health “hasn’t ruled it out 100%”

The Madrid Minister of Health, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, insisted this morning on “TVE” on the fact that the realization of the tests in the network of pharmacies “would be a good step forward”. As he explained, in its response to Madrid’s request, AEMPS “spoke of a European directive that did not allow it, which is a bit contradictory because of what we see in d ‘other countries where it is applied “.

“I think he hasn’t ruled it out 100%, but we have to insist,” said Escudero, who clarified that the ministry said it was evaluating two self-diagnostic tests with the possibility of selling them in pharmacy.

Meanwhile, Vice President Ignacio Aguado’s announcement of his intention to test all premises for antigens before Christmas has generated controversy within the executive PP-C, whose Board of Governors is meeting this Wednesday. In this regard, Ruiz Escudero, expressed doubts last night on “EsRadio”, where he stressed that the proposal is “difficult to achieve”.

For its part, Catalonia is also committed to the massive realization of this type of tests, as confirmed yesterday by government spokesman Meritxell Budó, who announced the purchase of eight million tests for this purpose.

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