Due to a rental dispute concerning the on-site pharmacy premises, North Estonia Medical Centre (PERH) is planning on cutting off water and electricity to the on-site pharmacy operated under the Apotheka brand by Terve Pere Apteek OÜ.
Aivi Karu, the hospital's administrative director, admitted that PERH must remain legally correct. "We definitely cannot go and forcibly take the premises away," she said according to daily Eesti Päevaleht (link in Estonian). "We must start thinking about whether it is worth it for us without legal basis to supply electricity and water to someone on our premises."
The hospital has not set an exact date for when Apotheka's water and electricity supply would be cut off, as this depends on preparations for it. It is likely, however, to happen sometime within the next few weeks.
Karu was unable to say how the pharmacy would continue operating without electricity and water, but commented that "they are creative people; they will think of something." She did not consider other restrictions, such as barricading the pharmay premises, to be justified.
Terve Pere Apteek, the operator of a chain of pharmacies under the Apotheka brand, has run a pharmacy location at PERH for years. This summer, as the pharmacy's lease was set to expire, the hospital held a competition for the contract to operate the pharmacy location, which was won by Benu Apteek Eesti OÜ.
When the previous lease expired in October, Terve Pere Apteek refused to vacate the premises, citing shortcomings in how the competition was conducted as well as a valid accord regarding rent with PERH. On Oct. 4, PERH filed an action against Terve Pere Apteek with Harju County Court, demanding that the premises be vacated.
On Oct. 9, the Agency of Medicines suspended the activity license of Terve Pere Apteek, citing the Medicinal Products Act, according to which a pharmacy must hold a legal basis for operating in a specific place. The pharmacy appealed the decision and applied for a continuation of the activity license on the basis of preliminary legal protection.
The Agency of Medicines lost to the pharmacy in court in the substantive discussion as well, where the court ruled that the lack of a valid rental agreement was an insufficient violation for the suspension of the activity license. The agency was discouraged for a few weeks but decided to appeal the matter on Thursday.
Editor: Aili Vahtla