Competition stiff for Sweden’s new pharmacies: report

Sweden's privately-owned pharmacies are suffering from financial troubles. The largest player on Sweden's pharmacy market, Apotek Hjärtat, has reported a loss of 358 million kronor ($56.4 million) after taxes, reports financial newspaper Dagens Industri.

Competition stiff for Sweden's new pharmacies: report

“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.

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.

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Sweden’s largest photo contest set for spring

One of Sweden's oldest and most prestigious photo contests is returning in March, showcasing talent from around the nation - and more women than ever before.

Sweden's largest photo contest set for spring
Photographer Paul Hansen scored a second prize in the News Photo (International) category for this image. Photo: Paul Hansen/Årets Bild
The winners will be showcased at the 73rd edition of the national photo contest, Årets Bild, at the Fotografiska museum in Stockholm on March 14th, with the exhibition scheduled to go on national tour following the preliminary capital show.
The exhibition brings together snaps by some of the country's top talents in professional journalism – from photojournalists, to local reporters, to foreign correspondents.
The competition, first launched in 1942, is open mainly to members of Sweden's Press Photographers' Club.
Over 4,000 photos were submitted in 2014 for this year's prize, with first, second and third place prizes awarded in seven separate categories, including Portrait, News Photo (International), News Photo (Sweden) and Everyday Life (International) and Everyday Life (Sweden), Sport and an Open Class category.
Mother cradles her newborn, delivered just two hours after her first contraction. Photo: Moa Karlberg/Årets Bild
Winners in some of the categories were announced earlier this week – a first for the photo contest. 
Also a first for 2015 is the number of submissions from women – and the number of female winners.
Eleven out of the 21 winners are women.
"It's something I'm extremely pleased to see," Mia Karlsvärd, chairman of the non-profit trade association for photographers and photojournalists, which oversees the competition told The Local.
"I have waited for this moment year after year – to see as many women winners as men. This year is extremely different than previous years in that regard." 
Out of the 299 hopeful photographers who sent in submissions, close to three quarters were men, with 85 women participating this year – but this still represents a hike from previous years.

Karlsvärd added that other parts of Scandinavia have been observing a similar trend this year.
"Hopefully this is a trend that will continue, but we can't be sure."
Female winners include freelance photographer Moa Karlberg who scooped first prize in the Everyday Life (Sweden) category. Winners in this category in particular have generally been dominated by men, noted Karlsvärd.
The winning photo depicts a woman cradling her newborn in the back seat of a car – moments after the delivery occurred on March 23rd 2014.
"The idea was that I would document her birth and she had called me when she started feeling contractions so I got to the hospital before her," the winning photographer told Swedish broadcaster SVT. 
"As soon as she arrived, I went out and took this picture."
Also grabbing a first prize is Dagens Nyheter photographer Beatrice Lundborg, in the Open Class category, for her natural-light-infused shot of a young Russian boy hanging laundry.

Lundborg's image, captured in Vladimir, Russia. Photo: Beatrice Lundborg/Årets Bild