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Competition stiff for Sweden's new pharmacies: report

The Local/cg · 8 Jul 2011, 12:41

Published: 08 Jul 2011 12:41 GMT+02:00

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"Competition is even stiffer than it was last year. Very many new pharmacies were established in the end of 2010, and the competitive pressure continues to grow higher all the time," Bodil Eriksson, deputy CEO of Apotek Hjärtat, told the newspaper.

Sweden had a state-run pharmacy monopoly until just over two years ago. On July 1st, 2009, the monopoly ended, and more than 20 new entrants enthusiastically entered the market for drug sales.

Two-thirds of formerly state-owned outlets were sold to private actors, and 200 new local pharmacies have been established.

The new entrants on the market are now bleeding from the stiff competition, which is threatening to shut down several of the new pharmacy outlets, reports Dagens Industri.

"I claim there's an over-establishment in several parts of Sweden," said Fredrik Söderberg, CEO of privately-owned pharmacy Medstop, to the newspaper.

Story continues below…

A report from the Swedish Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket), published in January 2011, concluded that one effect of the deregulation of pharmacies has been that many small towns now have pharmacies that did not have one prior to July 2009.

The Local/cg (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:54 July 8, 2011 by bjorkon
GOOD. Bring it on.
21:21 July 9, 2011 by canuk
horrible selection, overpriced wares, its no surprise.
21:54 July 9, 2011 by byke
Had the competition tried to cal SOS 112?
23:06 July 9, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
Market forces will weed-out the poorly run operations and the best will survive.
06:22 July 10, 2011 by engagebrain
So moving from a State Monopoly to a free for all has resulted in (a) massive financial losses and (b) no obvious lowering of prices. Ideology triumphing over good sense.
16:40 July 10, 2011 by jacquelinee
when is "Shoppers Drug Mart" getting a branch here? I can't wait!!!!!!
11:57 July 11, 2011 by Danne8
Good... that's the whole concept of a competitive market. It will be fun to see them adapt prices and marketing strategies... that's when the customers receive the benefits!

Let them learn.!
13:47 July 11, 2011 by Shibumi
So far, the only changes I have seen is that I have to try several pharmacies to find the 2 products I routinely use, whereas they used to be available in every apoteket... one product has gone up in price and the other no longer seems to be available anywhere in the cheaper generic (or at least lesser known brand) form and the brand-name product which was always more expensive has since gone up in price! I'm still buying generic paracetamol, ibuprofen, loperamide, famotidine and Vitamin B in "economy packs" from the USA at one tenth their price here.

Any time that "competitive free-market better deals for consumers" thing wants to kick-in...
00:48 July 12, 2011 by mkvgtired
Shibumi, The fact that you are able to buy the generics from the US just proves these companies better learn how to compete in the free market or face failure. Your argument seems to contradict itself, because you are using the free market to get the product cheaper elsewhere.

You are buying from a market where pharmacies are extremely competitive towards each other (every major supermarket, or superstore has a pharmacy in it and a generic drug brand). There are also major pharmacy chains with their own brands. It seems like your actions advocate free market principles, even though ideologically you may be opposed to it.
11:29 July 12, 2011 by cogito
I was thinking the same thing. The U.S. is rather an illustration of how well the competitive free-market works.

I save enough buying over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and other products in any U.S. drugstore to (almost) cover the plane fare to get there.

For some meds, in Sweden I need first to pay to see the my general doc to get a prescription, then pay apoteket 3-4 times what the same med would cost if I just walked into any American drugstore.

I think many Swedes boycott the independent pharmacies because...."that's not the way we do it here in Sweden."
02:13 July 13, 2011 by xiongyishi1234
people do not care about stiff competition or pharmacies cannot make profits from free market or something else, what they are concerned is how much they have benefited from it.
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