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The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is calling for a validation process for private COVID-19 tests before they are made available to purchase, in order to ensure that they undergo quality and accuracy checks to ensure they meet all safety requirements.

The RPS is concerned that, currently, there is no legal requirement for independent validation of private COVID-19 tests. Tests that are provided via NHS services are already quality assured through a validation process.

The RP’s submission to the Department of Health and Social Care consultation also highlights the need for a transition period to enable current tests that are already available to get validated.

RPS Chief Scientist Gino Martini said:

“Patients need reassurance that the COVID-19 tests they use have met high levels of checks for safety, accuracy and effectiveness. It’s vital that private tests go through the same independent validation process as those available on the NHS before they are made available to purchase. Without this process, we can’t be certain of the complete reliability of these tests. As a result, this can impact on how people act on the results of their tests, which could potentially put themselves and others at risk.

“Pharmacists are well placed to support patients with COVID-19 testing, and we recommend that tests are only made available from regulated healthcare sites, such as a pharmacy. This means that vital interventions can be made to ensure the safety of the patient and advice is given on social distancing and isolation measures they may need to take. The public and healthcare teams need appropriate guidance that will help them understand to only use and distribute tests that have undergone the required validation procedures.”

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