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UK pharmacy Boots set to open in Sweden

TT/The Local/vt · 10 Jan 2011, 12:27

Published: 10 Jan 2011 12:27 GMT+01:00

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"We hope that it will be in the first quarter," Sverker Littorin, chairman of Boots' local partner Farmacevtföretagarna told news agency TT on Monday.

Boots and Farmacevtföretagarna have formed a new pharmacy chain, Boots Farmacevtföretagarna AB. They expect to open 100 pharmacies in the next three years that would be run by private entrepreneurs under the Boots brand.

"We are busy recruiting candidates and finding premises here in Sweden. Everything is on track even though it is several months later than we had hoped," said Littorin.

Previously, Boots had aimed to open its first pharmacy in Sweden in the autumn of 2010, but were delays in finding a suitable IT solution, according to Littorin.

The Swedish government opened up the country's previously state-owned pharmacy sector to competition in November 2009. In connection with the deregulation, the government sold more than half of an estimated 900 state-owned Apoteket pharmacy stores.

As a result, competition has intensified in the industry. In the last year, the number of pharmacies in Sweden has increased by 22 percent, or 200 stores, according to a report from the Swedish Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket, KKV) last week.

Separately, department store chain Åhléns recently announced that it is closing five of its six newly opened pharmacies, while the sixth will be taken over by another operator.

Meanwhile, pharmacy chain Medstop CEO Fredrik Söderberg warned of an "overestablishment" of pharmacies that will result in closures in an interview with business newspaper Dagens Industri (DI).

Story continues below…

"The risk that we saw in the long run has occurred. There are a lot of places that have opened too many pharmacies. I believe that we will start to see an effect from it this year," Söderberg told DI.

However, his competitors disagreed. Bodil Eriksson, vice president of Apoteket Hjärtat, which planning to open 100 new pharmacies in the coming years, believes that the market is far from saturated.

For example, Sweden still has relatively few pharmacies per capita compared with other countries, she told the newspaper.

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

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Your comments about this article

12:55 January 10, 2011 by Shazzer
Unless they're going to be allowed to sell all the usual over-the-counter meds you can find in a UK Boots shop, it's kind of hard to get excited about this.
13:43 January 10, 2011 by Nemesis
Some competition will be a good thing.
14:10 January 10, 2011 by OllieCrafoord
There are pharmacies _everywhere_ these days. :/
14:37 January 10, 2011 by engagebrain
So lots more pharmacies, and therefore greater costs for which the consumer ultimately pays.

Is there any evidence that prices have fallen ?

Thought not.
15:10 January 10, 2011 by DGritt
Engagebrain - Its my understanding that more pharmacies will result in greater competition and that will help to reduce the prices.

As boots is not really up and running yet there will be no evidence to show the prices falling or staying the same
15:32 January 10, 2011 by StockholmSam
Yes, there are already pharmacies everywhere in Stockholm/Sweden, but if you go into them you find that they all have exactly the same thing. There are several very specific items that I cannot find in Swedish pharmacies. Boots in the UK has them and it will be interesting to see if they offer them to the Swedish market. I hope so!
16:08 January 10, 2011 by engagebrain

my point is that more pharmacies actually mean more costs, more buildings, more staff, more bosses etc and all the costs are ultimately paid by the consumer.

While Boots have not yet opened their new shops, there has been a substantial increase in then number of pharmacies but no evidence of a fall in prices.

I agree that competition is supposed to produce a fall in prices - but in the real world in Sweden today there is no evidence of any fall, suggesting that competition does not work.
16:18 January 10, 2011 by Syftfel
I hope they name it something appropriate for Swedish language use. 'Boots', with a double "oo", does not fit Swedish spelling rules.
16:43 January 10, 2011 by bloor west
Finally! I was wondering when a real drug store would open here. I hope the UK can spice up the competition in supermarkets as well. I am just waiting to read about Waitrose coming here so I can choose to buy my rotten fruit and veggies somewhere other than Ica and Coop.
16:55 January 10, 2011 by Swedesmith

How about BUTS.
18:15 January 10, 2011 by rquick
I hope Skatteverket will be on them to make sure they will pay their taxes. Not unlike in the UK. Bloody tax dodgers.
21:09 January 10, 2011 by alingsaskev
Yay, does that mean I will finally be able to buy cough medicine without going to my GP... or even better does that mean I will actually be able to buy ANYTHING that isn't manufactured by Astra Zenica!

Woooo Hoooooo!
21:27 January 10, 2011 by andersonking
in most countries in the world you can buy psuedoephedrine powered drugs over the counter to help with colds and flu. Puritanical Sverige needs to catch up... de-monopolising the pharmacies will be worthless if they can still only sell Lakerol!!
07:12 January 11, 2011 by Beavis
Lets hope it opens as Boots and not Bööts, a watered down Swedish version. Yep someones gotta come soon and open a proper supermarket, they will have 0 competition!
11:27 January 11, 2011 by cogito
Sweden is the only place where increased competition results in higher prices. I do not understand why.

Of course, until the recent forced deregulation of the state monopoly, aspirin could only be bought from government-run pharmacies. Just like in Cuba and North Korea.
12:40 January 11, 2011 by Rick Methven
The reason why prices go up when more players come into a finite market is simple as any economist will tell you.

It is all down to the economies of scale. A monopoly buying in all the goods for a nationwide network will always buy cheaper than 10 companies buying for their share of the market. The state monopoly also is not driven to increase profits by high prices. a smaller company with a smaller share of the market pays a higher wholesale price and wants more profit so it sells for a higher price. Boots has more potential customers in London than it has in the whole of Sweden.

The same would be true if Systembolaget was split and every corner shop would be able to sell alcohol. Higher wholesale prices and higher retail prices. because the government are never going to reduce the alcohol tax.

In a lot of things competition works to reduce prices, in Sweden the market is too small to gain the benefit
13:14 January 11, 2011 by Streja
Some posters on here actually think that Boots might be able to sell medicine in the same way as in the UK, simply because it's Boots.

Maybe those posters should stop taking those drugs. Their lack of intelligence is noteworthy.
16:38 January 11, 2011 by Rick Methven
I went out to buy a nasal spray today and as I had a bit of time, I went into 3 different Apotek to see what price difference there was.

Result all 3 sell the same spray for 79Kr
19:26 January 11, 2011 by adigunbabatunde@yahoo.com
^^^^ cartel ^^^^
01:34 January 12, 2011 by somethingbrite
Oddly enough....in all the time I have been here I have noticed a strange thing...

There does not appear to be one single Apoteket in Malmö which sells Aspirin.

Ibuprofen and Paracetamol no problem....aspirin? Nope.

I have seen Aspirin for sale in an Apoteket in Växjö, so I know its can't be a national restriction or anything, and check online! You can buy Aspirin from Apoteket online!

So why is this? Is there a local "skåne" health ministry which outlaws the sale of Aspirin? Is it because local purchasers for Apoteket are getting kick backs from Paracetamol and Ibuprofen sales people?

Regarding Supermarkets though....yes indeed it would be nice to see proper supermarkets here. I am getting a little bored of getting home from Ica only to discover that the pack of pancakes/salad/bread that I have just bought today in fact expires tomorrow!

I'm starting to suspect that my local Ica is a dump for the stuff the couldn't sell last week in the upmarket neighbourhood.
15:53 January 12, 2011 by harrylatour
Please don't get TOO (double 'o') excited about 'Boots The Chemist' being in Sweden people,they are one of the UK's most expensive medicines outlets.Only yesterday i had to moan at the checkout that the stuff that I was buying for £5.29 was available for £3.79 at Sainsburys supermarket apotek.

I don't think they are coming to Sweden ''for your health''!!
17:10 January 12, 2011 by cogito
Many modern meds are unavailable in Sweden. And a few good old ones, too.

Low-dose aspirin has been available over the counter in the U.S. for decades. It has long been advised for preventing strokes and other cardiac problems.

It is still unavailable in Sweden, even though, according to a recent report in The Lancet, low-dose aspirin also helps decrease deaths due to certain cancers.
19:07 January 12, 2011 by EP
Proper pharmacies, proper supermarkets and proper bread ... would be a welcome addition to this cold and boring country
20:54 January 12, 2011 by Beavis
And some proper butter to go with that bread please :)
07:32 January 13, 2011 by mikewhite
You would imagine Lurpack would be easy to find ...
07:43 January 13, 2011 by Rick Methven
You only have to pop over the bridge to get some Lurpak
09:18 January 13, 2011 by Beavis
The Swedish food police are on the bridge and they dont let anything tasty get through :) Thankfully real butter freezes good if you dont live in Malmö!
16:47 January 14, 2011 by pandorax
think it will be a watered down version of Boots with strict regulations of what is available over the counter.To the person who thinks Boots are pricey, they have their own brand, which is usually inexpensive.
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