Parliament has passed much-debated changes to the Medicinal Products Act and Health Care Administration Act which regulate the ownership and setting up of pharmacies, including prohibiting medical wholesalers from owning pharmacies.
The amendments establish a short-term limit on creating new pharmacies in settlements of more than 4,000 people. Only local municipalities may initiate the setting up of a pharmacy in such areas and it would need an approval from the State Agency of Medicines.
That limit will be in force until June 9, 2015.
The Supreme Court ruled at the end of December that parts of the Medicinal Products Act are unconstitutional, as they place too many restrictions on new pharmacies that want to expand into rural areas. The ruling comes into effect in June this year, and Wednesday's bill creates a transitional period to deregulating the market.
The bill also renames pharmacy staff as health care workers, regulates the creation and operation of pharmacy buses, and financial aid to pharmacies in remote areas and makes it easier to open pharmacies on small islands.