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HEALTH

“Dismantling Apoteket good for consumers”

The Swedish Competition Authority has concluded in a report that dismantling Apoteket, Sweden's pharmaceutical retail monopoly, would be good for consumers.

A market with more than one actor would make it easier for customers to gain access to pharmacies. It would also lead to better service, for example in the form of more flexible opening hours.

“A first step would be to allow more actors to sell non-prescription medicines,” said competition authority director Claes Norgren in a statement.

The report also recommends prohibiting pharmaceutical companies from opening their own pharmacies.

Apoteket AB is in an extremely strong position and the company should be required to meet certain criteria that would encourage competition.

“In order to create functioning competition it may be necessary for the state to sell a number of pharmacies,” said Norgren.

HEALTH

Sweden records world’s first case of bird flu in a porpoise

A porpoise found stranded on a Swedish beach in June died of bird flu, the first time the virus has been detected in one of the marine mammals, Sweden's National Veterinary Institute said on Wednesday.

Sweden records world's first case of bird flu in a porpoise

“As far as we know this is the first confirmed case in the world of bird flu in a porpoise,” veterinarian Elina Thorsson said in a statement. “It is likely that the porpoise somehow came into contact with infected birds,” she said.

The young male was found stranded, alive, on a beach in western Sweden in late June. Despite efforts from the public to get it to swim out to deeper
waters, it was suffering from exhaustion and died the same evening.

The bird flu virus, H5N1, was found in several of its organs. “Contrary to seals, where illnesses caused by a flu virus have been detected multiple times, there have been only a handful of reports of flu virus in cetaceans”, Thorsson said.

The virus has also previously been detected in other mammals, including red foxes, otters, lynx and skunks, the institute said.

Europe and North America are currently seeing a vast outbreak of bird flu among wild birds.

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