The end of Sweden’s state-run pharmacy monopoly


New entrants into the market for drug sales and for the eventual sale of non-prescription drugs in other retail outlets are welcomed to submit their applications to Sweden's Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket) which, since July 1st,  is in charge of accepting applications from companies looking to open new pharmacies.
In addition, the sale of up to two-thirds of the country's existing pharmacy outlets is being negotiated.

Läkemedelsverket is also working together with Apotekens Omstrukturering AB, the company set up by the government to assist with the sell-off of individual pharmacies, to manage the bidding process for the sale of 466 of the country’s nearly 1,000 individual pharmacies.

The pharmacies will be sold to large and medium-sized companies in eight clusters numbering between 10 and 200 pharmacies each.
Moreover, 150 pharmacies will be moved into a state-owned company which will then offer majority stakes to small business owners.
The state-run company, Apoteket AB, will hold on to more than 300 pharmacies to ensure that medicines are available to residents across the country, regardless of market conditions.

Another step in the pharmacy monopoly deregulation, set to take effect on November 1st, will allow grocery stores and other retail outlets to sell certain non-prescription drugs to customers over the age of 18.

In 2008, total drug sales in Sweden reached roughly 28 billion kronor ($3.7 billion). Since 1999, sales have increased by nearly 5 percent annually.


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