In passing sweeping amendments that postpone the implementation of a Supreme Court ruling, Parliament has taken on the role of a court, says lawyer and former chancellor of justice Allar Jõks.
Parliament's Social Affairs Committee said a transitional period is needed to study the possible effects of the deregulation of the pharmacy market, which the Supreme Court ordered in December but which the new amendments - to the Medicinal Products Act and Health Care Administration Act - postpone until mid-2015.
Jõks said it should be asked whether the Supreme Court's decision is mandatory, and that by setting a precedent of ignoring a ruling, Parliament will encourage people to also ignore court rulings.
He said the current Chancellor of Justice raised the issue in 2012, saying the regulated market was unconstitutional.
Jõks, who has advised a foreign pharmacy chain that is seeking to increase its market share in Estonia, said the Parliament's decision could lead to court cases against the state.
There is concern that rapid deregulation would hasten the further decline of small-town pharmacies to shut down as the large pharmacy owners gravitate toward larger population centers.