Boots pharmacies to open in Sweden

Boots pharmacies to open in Sweden
The international pharmacy group, Alliance Boots, plans to open Boots branded pharmacies on Swedish high streets in a joint venture with the Swedish company Farmacevtföretagarna, a cooperative company owned by the Swedish Pharmaceutical association.

“Alliance Boots is the best possible partner for Farmacevtföretagarna and for our entrepreneurs. Boots is a leading brand in the pharmacy business with a wide range of products and high professional standards,” said Sverker Littorin, chairman of Farmacevtföretagarna, in a statement.

In November 2009, the Swedish state opened up the country’s previously state-owned pharmacy sector to competition, selling more than half of an estimated 900 state-owned Apoteket pharmacy stores. The first privately owned pharmacy was inaugurated by Swedish Health and Social Affairs minister, Göran Hägglund, earlier this month.

The government has argued that ending the state-owned monopoly will lower prices, improve service and increase the number of pharmacies and availability of medicines to the public. Sweden has a below average number of pharmacies per head of population compared to many other European countries.

Opponents of the privatization have criticized the de-regulation of the sector, claiming that most of the new pharmacies are owned by venture capital companies based in the Channel Island tax haven of Jersey.

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