Pharmacies report healthy revenues for virus-hit year of 2022

A pharmacy in Estonia (photo is illustrative).
A pharmacy in Estonia (photo is illustrative). Source: OÜ Marja Apteek

General pharmacies in Estonia saw a strong turnover in 2022 thanks mainly to high sales of Covid tests in the early part of the year, and a surge in the spread of various viruses near the end of that year. Russia's invasion of Ukraine also had an impact on sales.

Statistics from the State Agency of Medicines put the total revenue enjoyed by pharmacies and their outlets at €643 million last year.

A total of 477 general pharmacies were in business in Estonia in 2022, while the turnover noted above also represented nearly a 10-percent rise on year (see also bar chart below).

A further 23 hospital pharmacies, and just one veterinary pharmacy, were also in operation.

While constant changes in operating licenses are seen, the total balance of pharmacies in operation in recent years has remained fairly stable, in the aftermath of a controversial pharmacy reform introduced in 2020 – the reforms as planned predated the Covid pandemic but happened to come into effect that same spring.

The four main pharmacy chains in Estonia, Apotheka, Benu, Südameapteek and Euroapteek and their results for the last financial year are as follows.


The Apotheka high-street brand is owned by the MM Grupp, co-owned by businessman Margus Linnamäe; according to its website, it runs a total of 163 Apotheka-branded pharmacy outlets nationwide.

Apotheka's financial results are reflected in the parent company's consolidated report, ERR reports, but not as a separate entity. However, this report reveals that the turnover of retail and wholesale sales of medicines and cosmetics, came to €499 million for the group.

Since within the MM Grupp, the Magnum Medical OÜ company, which deals in the wholesale sale of medicines and other health products, posted €222.195 million in revenues last year, then after deducting this wholesale revenue from the total retail and wholesale turnover of all pharmacy goods (ie. the €499 million mentioned above) leaves Apotheka's retail outlets with a €277.197 million revenue in 2022.

MM Group's financial reporting year ran from May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022.

Based on the same calculation, the turnover of Apotheka pharmacies for the previous financial year, ie. to April 30 2021, stood at €242.723 million, i.e. the chain's turnover increased by more than €34 million.


There are more than 140 Benu-branded outlets in Estonia. Company spokesperson Kaja Kilk told ERR that these stores operate as 60 different franchises, whose data is not aggregated by the parent company. However, she, too, reported a positive trend for the last financial year's revenue.

Kilk said: "At the same way, we know that pharmacies are all affected by the same concerns hitting the economy in general: Cost growth, wage pressure, inflation."

"Compared with a year ago, customers have turned more price sensitive, and are looking out more for discount offers," she went on.

Kilk added that dispensing pharmacists constitute small businesspeople who run a limited number of pharmacies, while their economic results also depend on the location where their pharmacy operates.


There are 69 Südmeapteek pharmacies and an e-pharmacies in business. Pharma Holding OÜ, the brand's holding compnay, notes in its annual report that in 2022 turnover began to grow rapidly, thanks to Covid test kits setting the tone for the first months of the year, while various viruses spread rapidly at the end of the year, along with the high rate of inflation.

In addition, sales of first aid products grew exponentially following Russia's invasion of Ukraine from February 2022, as such products are being purchased and sent as aid to that country.

Südmeapteek's turnover was €10.4 million and the net profit was €1.3 million, or a rise of 12 percent on year, when the figure was slightly under €9.3 million.

Pharma Holding's parent company is SA Holding OÜ.


Lithuanian chain Euroapteek operates 74 pharmacies nationwide in Estonia and posted a revenue last year of €11.7 million, at a loss of €8.1 million. 

In the previous year, these figures were €9.6 million and €2.75 million respectively.

The company says economic results from the first half of last year were impacted upon by the regular cold and 'flu season, which was longer and more severe than is usually the case, and also by the war in Ukraine. 

In the second half of the year, sales of cold, 'flu and prescription drugs were significantly bolstered by the early arrival of 'flu season and the accompanying widespread cases of upper respiratory viral illnesses and influenza.

Euroapteek has been in business in Estonia for 18 years.

Combined revenues of pharmacies in Estonia for the years 2002-2022 inclusive (figures in hundreds of millions of euros). Source: State Agency of Medicines.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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