How much will lateral flow tests cost, when free testing ends? A dr explains

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  • It’s thought lateral flows will be more expensive in the UK than in most other parts of the world. 

    It’s no news that the government will stop providing free lateral flow tests from this Friday, 1st April. Wondering how much will lateral flows cost under the new scheme? Good question.

    With Covid restrictions now fully relaxed in the UK – despite two new sub-variants and rising cases – lots of people are asking how much lateral flows will set them back, plus if they’ll be able to afford them.

    As part of the government’s “Living with Covid” plan – which scraps self-isolation for Covid and omicron symptoms – you will no longer be able to order or pick up lateral flow tests for free as it’s reported that offering free testing is at current costing the government £2 billion a month to run.

    It’s whipped up quite a frenzy, with people trying to order free tests online being asked to declare that they won’t sell them on.

    So, how much will lateral flow tests cost? 

    Good question – because despite them now costing money, it will still be a requirement to do a lateral flow test for certain events and circumstances.

    It’s being reported that lateral flow tests will also cost as much as £3 per test, which would make them more expensive in the UK than in most other parts of the world.

    Brits are thought to be faced with a £20 charge per box of tests as free Covid testing ends, reports MailOnline. A box contains seven lateral flow tests.

    Test prices: 

    Comparing this on retailer websites, we observed:

    • On, tests are available from £2.50
    • At Superdrug, costs are available from £1.99
    • At Randox, a leading lateral flow test provider, a pack of three tests is £15
    • At O Covid Clear, one lateral flow test is £14.99.

    Our advice? Make sure to have a look around and shop the options before committing to buying.

    Tests further afield, in places like France and Spain, cost £1 and £2.45 respectively, with Spain even imposing a cap to make sure tests can’t be sold for more than that.

    Only in the US, it seems, do they have more expensive tests on sale, with two lateral flow tests costing anything from around £8 to £19.


    The production cost of lateral flow tests has been widely disputed, with some researchers claiming that they cost as little as a few pennies to make.

    Speaking to MailOnline, professor Alexander Edwards from Reading University said: “Lateral flow tests are really cheap to manufacture… so there is no reason why tests should cost more in UK than elsewhere in Europe.”

    “As practical advice, I’d suggest to people there really is no need to test all the time – save tests for when they are really important.”

    However, also speaking to MailOnline, professor Lawrence Young from the University of Warwick warned that making tests so expensive could result in those with lower incomes vetoing testing altogether.

    He said: “For those on low incomes who may be less inclined to test because of difficulties with being supported to self-isolate, this will mean ignoring symptoms with the inevitable consequence of spreading infection – including to those who are more vulnerable.”

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