Speaking today to Lusa, the president of the regional section of the South and Autonomous Regions of the Order of Pharmacists (OF), Luís Lourenço, said that the nurses were "caught by surprise" when it was informed on 30 June that it had been created the special reimbursement scheme for rapid antigen tests (TRAg) for professional use carried out in community pharmacy, which came into force the following day The ordinance establishes that the value of the State contribution in carrying out the TRAg is 100 percent , the price not exceeding 10 euros, and its realisation is limited to four tests per month, per user.

"Pharmacists were taken by surprise because they were not informed of this intention, which has unfortunately meant that, until today, there are some limitations from the point of view of the computer system, which we hope will be overcome, in order to be able to invoice of this service and its co-payment by the National Health Service, said Luís Lourenço. Given their professional responsibility, the pharmacists tried “in some way” to overcome the “computer barrier” in the system used by pharmacies, provided by the Shared Services of the Ministry of Health, to carry out the test, having a draft to collect information from the user. “Since it is not possible to invoice them at the moment, but believing that they will be able to do so in the future, they are collecting data from users who are already taking the test”, said Luís Lourenço.

In this draft, the user assumes "on the honor commitment" that he is eligible to participate in the tests, a situation that the person responsible for the OF says is not desirable because there is "a very high risk" that pharmacists are "inadvertently carrying out a test " to an illegible user. There is also a higher bureaucratic and administrative burden, which also makes the usual process of carrying out the test “very difficult”. "For each test carried out in a pharmacy, the pharmacist has to spend approximately 15 minutes, which turns out to be a very high period, considering that pharmacies will continue to perform their function of dispensing medication and providing advice on their use and also the performance of biochemical tests”, stressed Luís Lourenço.

Given all these limitations, "the tremendous load they have", with no facility from an IT point of view and given the uncertainty of when this could happen, 25 pharmacies opted out of the project, out of the 183 pharmacies that the Ordem dos Farmacêuticos has the report of being enrolled. “It is necessary to understand what the day-to-day life of a pharmacist in a pharmacy is, who is overwhelmed with work and cannot give an answer. The phone calls are endless, the counter approaches are also numerous”, he explained.

He also said that the OF has reports from pharmacists who have asked for approximately two weeks to register at SINAVE (National Epidemiological Surveillance System) to record the results of the tests, which is mandatory, but have not been able to. Luis Lourenço said he believed that the number of pharmacies could "increase exponentially if there is an unblocking of registration in official bodies." The Lusa agency contacted the Ministry of Health about this situation, but still has not received an answer.