Choosing Generic Vs Branded Lateral flow tests for entry to the UK


Generic medicines contain the same active ingredient and are equally effective and medically equivalent as the branded products but are available at a lower price. Generic manufacturers have to demonstrate that they are medically identical to the branded product - i.e. they offer the same quality, strength, stability and effectiveness.

Generic medicines are required meet the same standards of safety, quality and efficacy as the branded medication. To receive market approval from the European Medicines Agency and MHRA, a generic medicine must be 'bioequivalent' to the originator product.

Lateral flow tests for entry to the UK

Covid-19 Rapid Test Kit

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Do I need a lateral flow test?

Based on the latest government guidelines, all international arrivals to the UK must complete a lateral flow test before they enter the country within two days before they depart. This is to ensure that new arrivals do not carry COVID-19 following their return, and to identify cases prematurely before people enter the community.

This is a separate test to the mandatory PCR test that is needed on day 2 of arrival to the UK, which needs to be booked.

How do these Coronavirus testing kits work?

Lateral flow tests are self administered by taking a swab from your nose and throat. This is mixed with a solution in a test tube for a short period of time, before being squeezed onto a test strip which is allowed to develop.

Lateral flow tests are simple to complete, and should only take 10 minutes to do with 15-30 minutes development time. They may feel uncomfortable or unusual at the time, but this is a temporary effect.

Where can I take the lateral flow test?

The test can be taken wherever, once you set aside 10 minutes to complete it. It should be taken prior to your departure to the UK, within the two days before you are due to depart.

How do I send my results to MedExpress?

Once your test has developed, you need to take a clear photo of your result alongside a copy of your passport and your booking reference number written down on the test, or on a piece of paper. This is very important, as otherwise we will not be able to issue your certificate.

How long will it take to get the results?

We commit to processing your results within 12 hours of receiving them in line with our operating hours, which are 9AM - 5PM Monday to Friday, and 8AM to 12 PM Saturdays.

How do I get the results and how will I be notified?

We will email you a copy of your results, depending on whether the test is negative, inconclusive or positive.

Are these tests legal?

Yes. We only use lateral flow tests that are approved from the MHRA via registered suppliers.

Will these Coronavirus tests tell me whether I've previously been infected or if I am immune?

No, these tests will not tell if you have previously been infected or whether you are currently immune, they will only tell you if you are currently infected. Once you have recovered the virus is eliminated and these tests can no longer tell if you’ve been infected.

Are the Coronavirus tests accurate?

Yes, these tests are accurate at assessing the presence of coronavirus in 98% of cases. In the cases of a positive test, we will still recommend a PCR test is completed to confirm your positive result.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus?

The main symptoms are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
Authored 02 April 2020 by Dr Clare Morrison, Reviewed 02 April 2020 by Liyya Patel, Siobhan Titre Last updated 02 April 2020

Recent Lateral flow tests for entry to the UK Reviews

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"Superb service"
By Gillian on 27 April 2022


Arrived quickly, very efficient service.


fast, efficient and excellent.

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Our qualified team

All our doctors and pharmacists are based in the UK and are registered with the General Medical Council and General Pharmaceutical Council.

Dr Clare Morrison

General Practitioner (Prescriber)
GMC: 3441561

Avnish Patel

GPhC: 2079950

Rukhsana Deshmukh

Superintendent Pharmacist
GPhC: 2070765