About the Norwegian Pharmacy Trade
|Membership of the Norwegian Pharmacy Association by chain by 1 January 2012:|
On 1 March 2001 the Norwegian government introduced new legislation, which led to greater changes to the trade than had previously been seen in the whole of its 400-year history. The biggest change was to how pharmacies are owned. Prior to 1 March 2001, all pharmacies were owned by trained pharmacists.
Since 1 March 2001, an increasing proportion of pharmacies have been taken over by chains. The biggest pharmacy chains are called Apotek 1, Boots apotek, Vitusapotek and Ditt apotek. To manage a pharmacy, you still need the appropriate professional training.
Three large international pharmacy chains, each vertically integrated with a pharmaceutical wholesaler, own approximately 82 per cent of the pharmacies in Norway. The three pharmacy chains are linked to pharmaceutical wholesalers and international owners:
As a result of the changes in the Pharmacy Act in 2001, the general public has considerably better accessibility to pharmacies, as the number of pharmacies has increased from 399 in February 2001 to a total of 707 as of 1 January 2012. 675 of these were privately owned, whilst 32 were public sector hospital pharmacies.
There were on average approx. 6,959 inhabitants per pharmacy as of 1. January 2012. At the end of 2000, the average number of inhabitants per pharmacy was 11,280. In 2001, Norway was second last in the OECD ranking of number of inhabitants per pharmacy. Even if the number of inhabitants per pharmacy has fallen sharply after the deregulation, Norway still has a relatively low pharmacy coverage compared to many European countries.
No pharmacy in scarcely populated areas has closed down since the pharmacy reform. One reason for this is that the pharmacy chains have signed an agreement with the Ministry of Health and Care Services to guarantee pharmacy coverage in a large number of scarcely populated areas.