‘End pharmaceutical monopoly’

'End pharmaceutical monopoly'
A government inquiry has proposed the dismantlement of Sweden's state-owned pharmaceutical retail monopoly Apoteket.

The author of the report, Lars Reje, did however anticipate difficulties foreseeing the effects of the change and called for a two-year independent review to coincide with the changeover process.

Reje also recommended that the chain be given responsibility for ensuring that rural areas continued to be served by Apoteket during an initial transition period.

On the practical side, anybody wishing to open a pharmacy will be obliged to obtain a permit from the Medical Products Agency.

The owner of a pharmacy will not be required to have a relevant qualification but must always have a qualified pharmacist on hand during opening hours.

The inquiry also proposed barring pharmaceutical manufacturers and resellers, as well as doctors authorized to issue prescriptions, from running pharmacies.

The Swedish Pharmaceutical Association welcomed what it regarded as “excellent” news.

“Abolishing the pharmaceutical monopoly will lead to more pharmacies, longer opening hours, shorter queues and better service for the customers,” said chairwoman Cecilia Bernsten in a statement.