Apoteket sell-off delayed six months

The break-up of the Apoteket pharmacy monopoly will be pushed back another six months, according to Minister of Health Göran Hägglund.

In a debate article published Thursday in the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper, Hägglund writes that the government is now working on a new law to allow outlets other than Apoteket to also sell medicine.

The new law is set to take effect on July 1st, 2009.

Earlier plans had called for the change to take effect at the end of 2008. The timetable had been criticized, not least by Apoteket’s competitors, who worried that they would have a hard time preparing to enter the Swedish market.

In order to ensure that Apoteket AB won’t be too dominant, the government wants to see off a number of the state-run pharmacy outlets throughout the country.

The creation of a new state-owned restructuring company set to take place at an Apoteket gathering on Thursday marks the first step toward the sell-off.

According to Hägglund, the chair of the new company will be Birgitta Böhlin, who currently heads the state-owned diversified services company Samhall AB.