Ica and Apoteket discuss in-store pharmacies

Swedish state-owned pharmacy chain Apoteket has confirmed that it plans to cooperate with supermarket chain Ica over the in-store sale of non-prescription and prescription drugs.

“We see great possibilities with a future cooperation where we can also offer qualified advice within medications and health at more outlets with longer opening hours,” Apoteket’s CEO Stefan Carlsson said in a company press release on Monday.

“This will contribute to better service and increased access for customers which is the primary goal of the deregulation of the pharmacy sector,” he said.

The firms hope that the first in-store Ica pharmacies will be opened during the first quarter of 2010.

For the partnership to get off the ground the approval of the Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket) is required.

Ica competitor Kooperativa Förbundet (KF) has previous announced a similar cooperation with the Finnish Oriola-KD group.

Sweden’s state-run pharmacy monopoly ended on July 1st 2009, paving the way for new entrants into the market for prescription and non-prescription drug sales.

The second stage of 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.

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