Pharmacies to offer free PCR tests

Pharmacies will soon offer free PCR tests, which will be mandatory from Thursday for non-vaccinated people, for example in night gastronomy. This was announced by Apothekerkammer President Ulrike Mursch-Edlmayr in an interview published by the Austria Press Agency (APA).

She said that this had already been agreed with the Ministry of Health and the social insurance companies. In the Chamber of Pharmacists, this offer is still blessed on Wednesday by the Presidium. The tests will be offered in all pharmacies throughout Austria, which currently already perform the antigen tests. However, it will not be the gargle tests currently used mainly in Vienna, but stripped PCR laboratory tests. For Mursch-Edelmayr, these tests offer the highest sample quality and thus “gold standard”.

These free PCR tests are to be rolled out “in the next few days,” the Chamber of Pharmacists president announced. Exactly when they will be offered and where will depend on regional capabilities. Agreements with the various laboratories in the federal states have yet to be made.

Procedure as for antigen tests
For the insured, nothing changes compared to the antigen tests already offered by pharmacies. After an appointment has been made, the smear test is taken at the pharmacy, and the result is then sent to the patient by text message or e-mail, or the patient can pick up a printout.

As with antigen tests, the free PCR tests will be financed by the social security system, which will then collect the money from the federal government. Mursch-Edelmayr said that the IT in the background would have to be adjusted for this in the next few weeks, but patients would not notice.

The president said that the effort for the pharmacies is very large, and they are working “at the limit of cost recovery.” However, she said, it is a “necessary service.” The federal government can use the pharmacies’ good infrastructure for the nationwide tests, Mursch-Edelmayr assured.

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