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Pharmacy ownership

In 2001, Norway liberalized the pharmacy ownership system

The new legislation led to a great change in ownership – one of the greater changes in the sector’s 400-year history. Since then an increasing portion of pharmacies are owned by pharmacy chains. The four main chains are called Apotek 1, Boots apotek, Vitusapotek and Ditt apotek.  Three large international pharmacy companies own approximately 84 per cent of all pharmacies in Norway. The hospital pharmacies (Sykehusapotekene) are owned by the public sector (Regional Health Authorities). 

The pharmacy chains are linked to pharmaceutical wholesalers and international owners:

Pharmacy chain

Wholesaler

Owner

Boots

Alliance Healthcare Norge AS

Alliance Boots Limited (English)

Vitusapotek

NMD Grossisthandel

Celesio AG (German)

Apotek 1

Apokjeden Distrubisjon AS

Tampro Oy (Finish)/Phoenix (German)

 

The Norwegian pharmacy sector is recognized by: 

  • Free establishment of pharmacies – no establishment criteria
  • Free ownership of pharmacies – except pharmaceutical manufacturers and doctors
  • No limit of the number of pharmacies that can be owned by one pharmacy owner – horizontally integrated pharmacy chains are allowed
  • Vertical integration between wholesalers and pharmacies/ pharmacy chains is allowed

As a result of the changes in the Pharmacy Act in 2001, the general public has considerably better accessibility to pharmacies. 

Pharmacies

The Norwegian Pharmacy Act defines a pharmacy as a physically accessible place for drug sale to end-users where drug-related guidance is provided. Pharmacies ensures safe delivery of drugs to end users and contributes to the correct drug use in the population. As of 2017 internet pharmacies can operate in Norway, if they are part of a physical pharmacy. 

By the end of 2017 there were 899 pharmacies in Norway, among these 867 are community pharmacies and 32 are hospital pharmacies.

Community pharmacy is a pharmacy where dispensing of medicines happens under the supervision of a pharmacist.

Hospital pharmacy is a pharmacy co-located with a public or private hospital and where drug supply to the hospital is one of the main tas

Inhabitants per pharmacy

On average, there were 5,850 inhabitants per pharmacy as of 1. January 2018. At the end of 2000, the average number of inhabitants per pharmacy was 11,280.

  Year (1st of January)  

 Number of pharmacies  

   inhabitants per pharmacy 

2018

899

5850

2017

868

6057

2016

834

6200

2015

800

6386

2014

767

6577

2013

738

6756

2012

707

6959

2011

682

7123

 

 

 

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