TALLINN - Considering the size of the population, the optimal number of pharmacies in Estonia would be 200 to 250, the Estonian Chamber of Pharmacists said.
The pharmacists' association said in a press release that it is deemed optimal in European states that one pharmacy should on average service some 4,000 to 6,000 customers. Considering Estonia's population, a total of 250 pharmacies would in this case be optimal. If Estonia were to follow the example of Finland, the population density of which is lower, altogether 200 pharmacies would also be sufficient.
The number of pharmacies currently operating in Estonia is 494 -- 133 in Tallinn, 44 in Tartu, 20 in Parnu, 19 in Narva, and 14 in Viljandi. The total revenue of pharmacies amounted to 391 million euros in 2018, of which at least 89 million euros was used to cover expenditure, the Chamber of Pharmacists said.
The association pointed out that according to this data, at least 23 percent of pharmacies' revenue was spent on keeping the drugstores running, whereas the corresponding figure in Finland is 14 percent.
"That means that the supply of medication in Finland is organized at a much lower price than in Estonia," the association said.
The Chamber of Pharmacists noted that decreasing the number of pharmacies by 50 percent would save at least 44.5 million euros per year, which in turn would allow to lower the price of medicinal products by 11 percent.