Government initiates bill to cancel pharmacy reform
The parliamentary Social Affairs Committee has initiated a bill to cancel pharmacy reform. Although supported by the coalition government, the bill did not pass the first reading in the parliament. As a result, at the present moment uncertainty around pharmacy reform continues. The plan to cancel pharmacy reform has been a major news story in Estonia in recent weeks.
The reasoning behind cancelling the reform is that currently around 300 pharmacies do not comply with the requirements of the reform. This leads to a risk that many of these pharmacies would be forced to close after 1 April 2020.
Amendments to the Medicinal Products Act to enact pharmacy reform were passed in 2014 and 2015 and are due to come into force on 1 April 2020. According to the Medicinal Products Act currently in force, as of 1 April 2020, all pharmacies in Estonia would have to have a pharmacist as the majority shareholder. Wholesalers and manufacturers of medicinal products as well as health care providers would also be banned from being shareholders in pharmacies. In addition, a pharmacy would be prohibited from operating a branch pharmacy in a city with over 4000 inhabitants.
- Bill to amend the Medicinal Products Act, available through the link (in Estonian); Press release by the parliament on bill to cancel pharmacy reform, available through the link (in Estonian); Medicinal Products Act, available through the link (in English) and link (in Estonian); news article on cancelling pharmacy reform, available through the link (in Estonian)