Majority shareholder in shipping line Tallink, AS Infortar, is entering the pharmaceuticals market, business daily Äripäev writes. The move comes after the sector saw a market liberalization in spring time.
"Opening up the market will create new opportunities and the space for new market participants," Eve Pant, Infortar board member, told Äripäev (link in Estonian).
Plans had been in place ahead of the reforms, which came into effect in April and ostensibly pass majority control of pharmacies to the qualified dispensing pharmacists who work in them and away from major wholesalers, mainly Tamro and Magnum Medical, whose activities have faced recent criticism for price fixing from pharmaceutical manufacturers in Estonia.
"In February, before the coronavirus crisis hit, we founded Farmatar, a pharmaceuticals wholesaler and pharmacy chain, and in June we received a license from the State Agency of Medicines (Raviamet); now we have continued the process through the summer," Pant went on, noting former Ülikooli Apteegi Grupp chief Jaana Pütsepp had been hired to bring experience to the venture.
According to Äripäev, Infortar's pharmacy product portfolio will include prescription and over-the-counter medicines, pharmacy cosmetics, medical equipment, food supplements, coronavirus-related personal protective equipment and hygiene products.
Infortar is taking on a market which sees the three largest wholesalers, Magnum Medical OÜ, which runs the Apotheka chain, Apteekide Koostöö Hulgimüük, and Tamro Eesti OÜ, which runs the Benu chain, between them hold 79 percent market share.
The largest wholesalers with which Infortar's subsidiary will compete hold 79 percent of the market for human medicines.
Magnum is owned by Margus Linnamäe, also owner of the Postimees media group; his brother Aivar owns Apteekide Koostöö Hulgimüük, whose purchasing and warehousing services are performed by Magnum.
Another operator in the market is Euroapteek, a Lithuanian-owned firm which runs the chain of the same nam. Euroapteek acquired Ülikooli Apteegi Grupp in early 2018.
Editor: Andrew Whyte