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Government proposes relaxing pharmaceutical laws

In the future, pharmacies in Finland could be established in conjunction with healthcare centres and hospitals and the number of pharmacies would increase.

Lääkkeitä apteekissa.
Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

The government has presented parliament with a proposed change to the country's laws on pharmaceuticals, which are controlled by the Finnish Medicines Agency (FIMEA). With the amendment, the government would like to see an increase in the number of pharmacies -- there are currently more than 800 in the country -- and, consequently, the availability of medicines.

Should the proposal go through, it would be much easier for Fimea to open new pharmacies and expand pharmacy services, while safeguarding the availability of prescription and other medicines. Fimea could also decide to establish pharmacies in conjunction with social and healthcare centres. These include municipal healthcare centres, private doctors and both public and private hospitals.

Government also proposes simplifying the pharmacy licensing application and granting process, and speeding up the change of ownership transfer for existing pharmacies.

Included in the proposal, the government is also presenting Fimea with a clause that would allow the agency the right to impose periodic penalty payments if a pharmacy is not operating according to guidelines, as well as the right to close a pharmacy temporarily if its operations are in some way causing a threat to patient safety.

If accepted by the Finnish Parliament, the proposed law would come into effect on 1 October 2018.

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