• Sweden's news in English

Sweden completes pharmacy sell-off

TT/AFP/The Local · 9 Nov 2009, 15:06

Published: 09 Nov 2009 10:30 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Nov 2009 15:06 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Together, the four new actors will control more than half of Sweden's around 900 pharmacies, which were previously all owned by the state-run Apoteket monopoly. In order to facilitate their sale, the 465 pharmacies up for tender were subdivided into eight clusters by Apoteket Omstrukturering AB (OAB), the company formed to oversee the restructuring process.

Eva-Britt Gustafsson, managing director of OAB, explained that the four buyers would help set the stage for a well-functioning Swedish pharmacy market.

"We feel that this creates a good market structure made up of a number of actors with varying emphasis and geographical coverage," said Gustafsson in a statement.

Apoteket AB will continue to operate around 300 pharmacies, while the country's remaining pharmacies will be run by smaller private operators.

The combined sale price for the eight clusters amounted to 5.9 billion kronor ($857 million), as four parties swooped to control a major share of the re-regulated market, according to a statement released on Monday by OAB.

The sale price exceeded expectations, said OAB chairperson Birgitta Böhlin.

"The aim of the pharmacy reform is, among other things, to safeguard the secure provision of pharmaceuticals at low pharmaceutical prices," said Böhlin, speaking at a Monday morning press conference.

Apoteket Hjärtat, owned by private equity firm Altor, is to be become the largest actor on the market having bought two clusters comprising 208 pharmacies, with a turnover of 7.1 billion kronor and 1,500 employees.

Kronans Droghandel Retail AB, a company jointly owned by Oriola-KD

Corporation and Kooperativa Förbundet (KF), acquired 100 percent of the shares in cluster 2, officially known as Pharmacy Company Sweden 2 AB, which consists of 171 pharmacies with a turnover of 4.4 billion kronor and 930 employees.

Medstop Holding AB, owned by Stockholm-based private equity firm Segulah, secured the purchase of clusters 3,4 and 5, which together comprise 62 pharmacies with a turnover of 3.1 billion kronor and 660 employees.

Swedish investment giant Investor has also acquired a share of the pharmaceutical pie through Vårdapoteket i Norden AB, a company it owns with fellow Swedish firm Priveq. Vårdapoteket i Norden AB has laid claim to clusters 6 and 7, which consist of 24 pharmacies with a turnover of 1.4 billion kronor and 230 employees.

The share transfer agreements are subject to the approval of the Swedish Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket) and the country's competition authorities.

As of November 1st, Swedes wanting to buy non-prescription drugs can do so at selected stores, including some gas stations and grocery shops.

Story continues below…

Firms could start operating pharmacies under their own brand names "sometime early next year, maybe January or February," Jebsen said, adding the acquisitions still had to be approved by the country's competition authority and its medical products agency.

The Swedish government has previously argued that putting an end to the Apoteket monopoly would improve the availability of medicines for customers in the form of more pharmacies and longer opening hours, and create downward pressure on prices as more providers entered the market.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:15 November 9, 2009 by billyb362
Would someone please provide some common sense INTERPRETATION to all this technical, legal don't-exactly-want-the-public-to-understand-what-we're-talking-about jibberish?

Ok, so Apoteket will no longer have a monopoly on pharmacies. Great!

I understood that much...
15:10 November 9, 2009 by Marc the Texan
That's about all that matters
20:09 November 9, 2009 by Social Hypocrisy
At last I can choose for myself which brand of Ibrofrufen I buy rather than being treated like an ignorant child and advised to buy the version which pays the largest sum of money into states coffers.

Competition is good for everyone!
20:22 November 9, 2009 by Bumblebeetuna
I actually liked that the pharmacy was state owned. In reflection on the doctor perscribed drug problems that my country faces. RX, Pain killers, etc. I hope they maintain the strict oversight.
23:36 November 9, 2009 by Daniel M Hynes
The next thing to sell off should be Systembolaget. Supermarkets should be allowed to sell 'real' beer, wine etc like in the rest of the world!!
03:53 November 10, 2009 by delusion1982
congratulations to an open trade market
09:22 November 10, 2009 by Pont-y-garreg
The word is not "demonopolize", it's "deregulate". Less of the Swenglish please.
12:48 November 10, 2009 by foreignobserver
This process of deregulation is the continuation of the deregulation phenomenon of the 70's/80's when the Bretton Woods system was abandoned and also part of the 'real' neoliberal program of Fredrik Reinfeldt and the moderaterna. The rhetoric is the usual, "hate the state, welcome competition". Except of course that the state still subsidizes corporations (the public takes the cost of risk, which is huge, like e.g. in High tech and pharmaceuticals°) more and more and profits are privatized. Social spending is being cut along with everything else that has worked too well. Competition is presented in its textbook version (I work for several swedish universities), as if Ricardian (or Milton Friedman) economics ever made any sense.

Meanwhile, workers and unpriviledged people are loosing more and more bargaining power in front of the 'corporatocrats' as a result of this deregulation process, which appears unstoppable. This is not a law of nature, it can be stopped. We must see through these lies and unite to gain what we have faught so hard for.

PS: 'demonopolize' is not Swenglish, it's propaganda.
20:03 November 13, 2009 by miau
What makes "private equity" firms qualified to run chemists?

I liked the idea of any profits made by the sale of medicines going back into the government/Apotheket, instead of wealthy shareholders.
02:30 January 20, 2010 by wwsword
When a handful of corporations (such as four) control everything, then you have an effective monopoly. "Demonopolize" is a propaganda term. The question is whether any rational self-interested member of the majority (not to mention those who have some sense of common purpose) would want a government monopoly that is potentially democratic running health care for the public benefit, or a private monopoly that is not only not democratic, but exists soley to profit from the needs of citizens, whom it redefines as "consumers." The answer is obvious, I think: the rational self-interested member of the majority would oppose turning over any aspect of medicine to corporate tyranny.
Today's headlines
Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available