More pharmacies, but decreased patient safety
Sweden has gotten more pharmacies since the 2009 privatization of the pharmacy monopoly, but patient safety could be at risk, according to a new report from the Swedish Agency for Public Management.
Today there are 356 pharmacies in Sweden, a 39 percent increase since 2009. And better opening times are giving people more access.
But the report finds that the conditions for pharmacists to prescribe the correct medicine and give proper advice to consumers have worsened – something consumers have also noticed.
A majority of pharmacy employees say the possibilities of competence development have decreased, which the report finds can increase risk to consumers.
"We think it's a little worrying. The staff's knowledge about medications and drug usage is the foundation for secure and functioning operations," says Thomas Ringbom, a researcher at the Swedish Agency for Public Management.
The report also backs up other findings that small players have had a hard time surviving in the competitive pharmacy market. One goal of the center-right Alliance government was to ensure that a diverse group of businesses could run pharmacies, but today the market is controlled by a few large companies.