In Vienna it will soon be possible again to carry out free PCR tests in pharmacies – as part of the now only five free tests. The Chamber of Pharmacists announced this on ORF on Saturday evening. The chamber and the large-scale Lifebrain lab have reached an agreement necessary for the implementation, which must start by April 11. You can also continue to test for free with the “everything gargles” system and in the test lanes, the gargle boxes and the sniffer boxes.
The collaboration with Lifebrain was necessary because procurement law did not allow to entrust processing directly to the pharmacies, as the bidder consortium around Lifebrain is currently conducting the tests.
The pharmacies are now engaged by the consortium itself as subcontractors, the ORF program ‘Vienna Today’ reported on Saturday evening. The city of Vienna said a new EU-wide tender should have been launched, which would have taken months.
“I can say today that thank God we have come to a positive conclusion after very intensive but quick negotiations. This means that the Viennese pharmacies will act as a kind of subcontractor for the company Lifebrain,” the president of the Vienna Chamber of Pharmacists, Philipp Saiko, told “Vienna Today” on Saturday.
By April 11 at the latest
The new test kits will be delivered to pharmacies during the next week. “I assume that we will be able to offer this service in full by the end of next week or by Monday 11 April at the latest and then we will only have a few days left,” said Saiko.
Hacker: “Expect detailed report on this agreement”
In the office of Health Councilor Peter Hacker (SPÖ), a spokesperson said on Saturday that it was known that the municipality has always insisted on integrating the pharmacies into the Vienna test system. “We expect a detailed report on this agreement on Monday. We will therefore comment on it and communicate details on how to proceed.”
Hacker had already regretted Thursday that the federal government had removed the pharmacies from the test scheme and terminated the contracts with the pharmacies. “There are many people who still need a physical testing offer for medical reasons or because of their age,” he emphasized. That is why the Chamber of Pharmacists was also invited to enter into negotiations with the consortium of bidders in Vienna.
On April 1, the federal government introduced a limit on free PCR and free antigen testing with the new testing system. As a rule, only five antigen and five PCR tests per month are available free of charge per person. However, in April, five more “older” PCR gargle test kits can be used.
In addition, there are still unlimited free tests for different groups, for example for people in nursing and disabled facilities, hospitals, refugee and homeless shelters, kindergartens and in child and youth care. Additional tests will be made available to visitors to health and social facilities as needed. You can also test for free if you have complaints.
Different test system in the rest of Austria
The test system is used differently in the other federal states. Styria has completely switched to taking tests in pharmacies. Vorarlberg mainly relies on gargling, but also includes more pharmacies. There is a mixed system in Tyrol, Salzburg and Upper Austria. Like Carinthia, Burgenland is also continuing the “Gurgling at home” test campaign.
I am Ida Scott, a journalist and content author with a passion for uncovering the truth. I have been writing professionally for Today Times Live since 2020 and specialize in political news. My career began when I was just 17; I had already developed a knack for research and an eye for detail which made me stand out from my peers.