Private pharmacies return to Sweden

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Private pharmacies return to Sweden

The first private pharmacy in Sweden since 1971 opened for business in Stockholm on Sunday following an inauguration by Swedish Health and Social Affairs minister Göran Hägglund.


"After hard work for a long time, we are now ready to open the first pharmacy in Sweden which is privately owned since 1971," Hägglund said as reporters and a small crowd looked on.

The state-owned Apoteket chain of pharmacies was until Sunday the sole provider of prescription medication in Sweden, and was until November 2009 also the only provider of non-prescription drugs such as headache tablets or other over-the-counter products.

Sweden's parliament in May 2008 voted in favour of the centre-right government's plans to open up the country's market for prescription and non-prescription drugs to competition.

In November 2009, the Swedish state sold 465 of its estimated 900 state-owned Apoteket stores to four firms, all of them Swedish companies established for the sole purpose of running the pharmacies.

The pharmacy inaugurated on Sunday, in the Kungsholmen district of Stockholm, was the first of such pharmacies to operate under its own brand name. It is operated by Medstop, which has also taken over a further 61 pharmacies across Sweden.

"We want to increase accessibility and think that can be achieved through competition" in the pharmacy market, Hägglund said Sunday of the new pharmacy system.

As of November 1st, 2009, Swedes wanting to buy non-prescription drugs could do so at selected stores, including some gas stations and grocery shops.

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.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also