THE Gibraltar government was pushed to reveal details of the Rock’s procurement of Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) after rumours circulated that it was profiting from a mark up.
Unlike in many countries, including the UK and Spain, LFTs are not sold over the counter for use at home but are offered under supervision by pharmacies on the Rock, with some putting on a price tag as high as £30.
Opposition party Together Gibraltar suggested the Gibraltar Health Authority ‘could well be making profits in the region of a 100% mark up.”
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo responded to the slurs branding them a ‘completely untrue allegation’ and ‘completely false nonsense’
“This LIE is designed to make people lose confidence,” he insisted. Adding: “We continue to provide thousands of free tests.”
But Together Gibraltar called for transparency and questioned why pharmacies can only buy LFTs from the GHA (Gibraltar health authority) at a cost of £5.40 almost double the €2.94 consumer price cap over the border in Spain.
Marlene Hassan Nahon, the leader of TG insisted: “The public deserves full transparency on the mystery of this great mark up on lateral flow tests and why they are not subjected to the same anti-profiteering rules as other Covid-related items.”
On Monday No.6 Convent Place issued a statement dismissing claims of profiteering with the reminder that tests are provided free of charge at the Midtown drive-through.
It also revealed the procurement process explaining that ‘the GHA purchased the majority of LFTs at a cost of £5.40 per test from Francisco Navarro, a commercial pharmacist based in La Linea and sells them to permit-holding pharmacies and clinics at cost price.’
“In basing their entire argument on the availability of LFTs at pharmacies in Spain at a consumer cost of €2.94, Ms Hassan Nahon’s party completely overlook the fact that the Spanish government, similar to other governments worldwide, heavily subsidise the final price to consumers of these tests for at-home use. It is therefore entirely WRONG to assume that tests are available for wholesale purchase and exportation at anywhere near this price,” read the government statement.