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Pharmacies planned to be distributed more evenly throughout Latvia

The Health Ministry (VM) has proposed changes in the Cabinet regulations which provide that new pharmacies will not be able to open close to an existing one, according to a release by the ministry May 7.

The new arrangements proposed by the Ministry foresee that a new pharmacy may not open within a 500-meter radius of an existing one.

Similarly, the VM proposal provides that one pharmacy be opened in areas with a population of 2,500 or less. There are currently no pharmacies in many places with a population of less than 2,500, because the existing regulation allows the possibility for a competitor to open a pharmacy next to it, which would inevitably lead to a loss of profitability, the Ministry noted. By changing the regulation, such locations are expected to become viable for businesses to open a pharmacy, and residents would have access to a pharmacy closer to their residence.

Health Minister Daniels Pavļuts said: “The new amendments aim to improve access to the network of pharmacies for residents, including in less populated areas. A second significant benefit: a more fair playing field for the placement of pharmacies in cities and in the areas of medical institutions."

The new rules will have no effect on pharmacies already working. The changes will only apply to new pharmacies.

Amendments are scheduled to be submitted to the government for approval in the coming weeks.

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