In 2019, around half of the companies involved in the pharmaceuticals wholesale market were connected to influential businessmen and brothers Margus and Aivar Linnamäe.
ERR News wrote earlier on Monday that Maris Jesse, undersecretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs, has asked the Competition Authority (Konkurentsiamet) to investigate the dealings of businessmen Margus and Aivar Linnamäe in the Estonian pharmaceutical wholesale market to assess if they have an illegal dominant position.
There were 62 companies permitted to participate in the wholesale pharmaceuticals market as of the start of 2020, of which three were only permitted to sell veterinarian medicines. 30 businesses with wholesale permits sold medicinal products to people in 2019.
79 percent of the wholesale drugs market was made up of three large wholesalers: Magnum Medical with 29 percent, Apteekide Koostöö Hulgimüük OÜ with 22 percent and Tamro Eesti OÜ with 29 percent.
47 percent of Apteekide Koostöö Hulgimüük OÜ shares are owned by Aivar Linnamäe, brother of influential businessman Margus Linnamäe, who among many things also owns pharma wholesaler Magnum Medical OÜ.
The Estonian Competition Act sees a dominant position on market as a finable offense of up to €400,000.
The three main companies on the pharma wholesale market were followed by Baltfarma OÜ, the Health Board and Roche Eesti OÜ, each with 5 percent of the market.
The market volume of human medicinal products has steadily grown in the last few years and the turnover of the sector last year was €344 million, a 5.8 percent increase from 2018.
Blood pressure drugs most sold among prescription drugs
Of all medicinal drugs, wholesalers issued nearly 70 percent to general pharmacies, a total of €240.4 million. Sales to hospital pharmacies made up 29 percent (€100.3 million) of the sector and sales to other authorities made up €3.7 million.
86 percent of the pharmaceutical market volume was made up of prescription drugs with the turnover of over-the-counter medicines also increasing over the last years. Mainly, sales of over-the-counter medicines increase in the start and end of year.
In 2019, 22 percent of all turnover in the pharmaceutical market was made up of antitumor drugs and immunomodulatory agents, followed by systematically used anti-infectives (14 percent) and gastrointestinal and metabolic drugs (11 percent).
Last year, the most consumed drugs per 1,000 people in Estonia were cardiovascular, gastrointestinal tract and metabolism and nervous system agents. The most used active substances among prescription drugs were Ramipril for high blood pressure, Rosuvastatin, used to prevent cardiovascular disease and Amlodipine, used to treat high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.
Of over-the-counter medicines, the most purchased were a combination of acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin) and magnesium oxide, ibuprofen for pain relief and xylomethazoline, used to reduce symptoms of nasal congestion, allergic rhinitis, and sinusitis.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste