Shortage of Pharmacists constrict the growth of the sector in Sweden


Monday, 20 June 2011
The Swedish pharmacy industry can not keep up with the opening of new pharmacies in the rate at which the companies themselves want. The market is increasing at such a pace that companies find it difficult to get hold of staff.

In 2010, the number of pharmacies in Sweden expanded from about 1000 to about 1250 and now the Pharmacy sector is fighting for skilled staff.

“We notice of course that one tries to haggle on the staff. One must hunt today. It is not as easy as before. You try to go on the contacts you have, says Nathalie Edstrand who is head of a pharmacy in Stockholm, speaking to radio Sweden.

Despite that, there is limited risk of overcrowding, according to the Pharmacy trade organization. Instead, there are signs that the number of pharmacies will continue to grow to double that. But the question asked by observers is “how?”

“Prior to deregulation, Sweden had a pharmacy for every ten thousand inhabitants. Now we are down to 8000 inhabitants per pharmacy. In Europe the figure is about 4000, so we still have very few pharmacies compared to Europe, says Johan Wall�r of the trade organisations Pharmacy association to radio Sweden.
The increase is held back by the lack of highly skilled pharmacists who are qualified to receive recipes and advice on medication. The law requires at least one pharmacist must be on site at any pharmacy throughout the opening hours.


“I do not think there was anyone who had anticipated that there would be opened so many new pharmacy in such a short time,” says H�kan Magnusson, director of Ica's pharmacy company, Cura. He says that it is difficult to get hold of staff.

There will be fewer pharmacists in Sweden despite all the efforts to expand the sector.  Only half the numbers of pharmacists are able to graduate and replace those who retire each year.

The Swedish Pharmacists Association President, Tony Bj�rk, said that the reason for this low in the availability of skills has to do with the fact that the number of training places has not increased very much and “we can now sadly see that the courses are not full, says Mr Birch.

Some pharmacists have received as much as 25 percent of the pay rise in the new market.
Some pharmacy companies offer different wages depending on the brand and its command in the market. The difference in the pay may lie in thousand in contrast according to pharmacy manager Nathalie Edstrand.

The bigger boys in the business could survive by paying higher salaries than their competitors but expansion could be the difficulty.
The Swedish government decided to deregulate the pharmacy sector two years ago yielding to pressure from Brussels. Since the monopoly, Apotek  has see the a quick emergence of competitors to its door steps but now due to the shortages of kills, the expansion of the competitors base will cool.
By Team

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