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Two companies control wholesale market following pharmaceutical reform

Market shares of pharmaceutical wholesalers in 2022.
Market shares of pharmaceutical wholesalers in 2022.

The Competition Authority's review of the pharmacy market reform revealed that the two largest companies now hold nearly 80 percent of the pharmaceutical wholesale market, with Magnum Medical OÜ's market share far exceeding the 40 percent threshold.

According to data provided by the Estonian Medicines Agency regarding the market distribution of wholesale medicines, Magnum Medical OÜ held 46.4 percent of the market volume of human medicines in 2022 and Tamro Eesti OÜ controlled 33.2 percent. Following them were Baltfarma OÜ with 5.6 percent, Terviseamet with 7.1 percent and Roche Eesti OÜ with 4.6 percent.

Also, the wholesale sector has witnessed an even greater consolidation of competition, as the two largest wholesalers now control a combined market share of 79.6 percent. The competition authority said in its review that this has caused the wholesale sector to become even more consolidated.

In 2019, Tamro Eesti OÜ accounted for 29 percent of the overall market volume in the pharmaceutical distribution industry, followed by Magnum Medical OÜ at 28.6 percent, Apteekide Koostöö Hulgimüük OÜ at 21.6 percent, and Baltfarma OÜ at 5.7 percent.

The Competition Authority undertook a study to determine whether and to what extent the pharmacy reform implemented in 2020 has impacted the pharmaceutical sales market.

ERR published in mid-January that, according to a Competition Authority analysis, the three-year-old pharmacy reform has not increased market competition. In an interview with ERR, Evelin Pärn-Lee, the head of the Competition Authority, said that the pharmacy reform implemented three years ago has not altered the market. Since new wholesalers are prohibited from entering the pharmaceutical market and pharmacies maintain close ties with wholesalers, the pharmaceutical industry is essentially devoid of competition.

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Editor: Mait Ots, Kristina Kersa

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