The licenses for the stores sold off under deregulation have been bought up by a variety of companies, while around half of the 900 or so pharmacies owned by Apoteket AB will still be owned by the State. All licenses are subject to approval by the approriate medical authorities.
The sell-off is part of a bill passed in February by Sweden's centre-right government to deregulate the country's retail pharmacy which was swicthed to a monopoly in the 1970's.
Last year, Sweden's Minister for Health and Social affairs, Göran Hägglund said "A successful pharmacy must be open during the hours when people are able to visit a pharmacy. Competition leads to greater adaptation to customer needs and speeds up the development of new solutions. This benefits individual customers as well as society in general."