Is France the only European country to offer free PCR tests for everyone? We verified this statement by Jean Castex

    Is France the only European country to offer free PCR tests for everyone? We verified this statement by Jean Castex

    A PCR test in Berlin, October 8, 2020. – Kay Nietfeld / AP / SIPA

    • During his press conference Thursday, Jean Castex compared access to PCR tests in Europe, highlighting, according to him, a particularity of France, which offers this access “free” for all.
    • In Germany and Spain, countries mentioned by the Prime Minister, citizens who want to be tested on their own initiative must sometimes pay more than one hundred euros.
    • In Greece, they have the possibility of doing it for free, on condition that they are drawn by lot.

    Favored, the French? This is the message that Jean Castex wanted to convey on Thursday about access to PCR tests. Comparing the situation to our European neighbors, the Prime Minister stressed during a press conference that PCR tests are “completely free” for everyone in France – that is to say, 100% supported by the Health Insurance.

    In Germany and Spain, a person who wants to be tested on his own initiative has to pay up to 100 euros to take a PCR test, insisted the Prime Minister, while this amount can reach up to “350 euros ” UK. In Greece, it is simply by “drawing lots” that asymptomatic people can access a PCR test for free, concluded Jean Castex.

    20 Minutes verified these statements by the Prime Minister.


    France is not the only territory to offer PCR tests without conditions: Bavaria has also offered it to its residents since July 1. In the rest of Germany, prices for cases not covered by the health services vary. In Berlin, a PCR test can cost 150 euros.

    Unlike France and therefore Bavaria, the four countries mentioned by the Prime Minister have chosen a targeted strategy for reimbursement of tests, in order to avoid overloading their health systems. Although they do not all have the same criteria, they offer support for PCR tests for certain categories of the population: people with symptoms such as loss of taste or smell, risky contact cases, certain categories of caregivers …

    In Greece, the government caps the price of PCR tests

    What about the amounts and terms put forward by Jean Castex? In Greece, the authorities have effectively set up a site where asymptomatic people must register to benefit from a free PCR test. They are then selected by drawing lots. If they go to a laboratory, they will have to pay up to 40 euros, to which are added up to 20 euros in fees, and 10 euros for an antigen test, doubled by 10 euros in fees. The government set this price cap at the beginning of December because of the soaring prices in private structures.

    In the United Kingdom, there is no ceiling for the prices charged in private structures, which was deplored before the Christmas holidays by many French people living on the other side of the Channel.

    The 350 euros announced by the Prime Minister do not appear to be the norm, however, but to be those charged by high-end private clinics located in central London. Thus, a private clinic, located in the district of the very prestigious London street Harley Street, offers a PCR test at 350 pounds, or 389 euros. In this case, a healthcare professional will come to your home and the result is guaranteed within 24 hours.

    Boots, the country’s leading drugstore chain, offers PCR tests for 120 pounds, or 133 euros, just like rival Lloyds Pharmacy. A saliva PCR test is distributed on the Internet at 89 pounds, nearly 100 euros.

    In Spain, the price of a PCR test varies between 100 and 150 euros, according to our colleagues from 20 minutes. Madrid laboratories display prices ranging from 79 euros to 150 euros. In May, prices have sometimes gone up to nearly 200 euros, then observed La Sexta. Amounts which de facto restrict access to these tests.

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