Estonian drug agency bans consulting of pharmacy customers via video link

Estonia's State Agency of Medicine has banned the consultation of pharmacy customers via video link, which has led Terve Pere Apteek OÜ, operating under the Apotheka brand, to close down small rural pharmacies in Kavastu and Luunja in June. The company plans to contest the agency's decision in court.

"The State Agency of Medicines threatened to enforce a penalty payment of up to €6,000 per day if we don't stop offering pharmacy services via video link in Luunja and Kavastu," Terve Pere Apteek board member Kadri Ulla, said in a press release.

According to Ulla, the agency also threatened to suspend the company's activity license, which would mean that 85 Apotheka pharmacies across the country would have to be closed down. She added that the company must therefore take the dispute to court.

Terve Pere Apteek developed a solution in which customers can consult with pharmacists via video link, Ulla explained. All medications issued were checked by a professional and the pharmacist was assisted by a customer service representative who had completed special training.

"According to the State Agency of Medicines, it is not acceptable that a customer service representative takes a medication from the shelf and displays it to the pharmacist via webcam, as customer service representatives are not allowed to touch boxes of medication," said the board member.

According to Ulla, it is nearly impossible to find pharmacists willing to work in rural areas, especially in summer, and so it is very difficult to keep pharmacies open in rural areas. This new solution, she noted, helps the company keep these pharmacies operational.

Agency: Pharmacy must be physically present

According to the State Agency of Medicines, the law in Estonia states that a pharmacist must be physically present at the pharmacy in order to render pharmaceutical services, thus it is incorrect to claim that the agency has suddenly decided to ban the use of video links in pharmacies.

"The State Agency of medicines has not banned video consultations, but is obliging business owners to guarantee the presence of a pharmacist during the pharmacy's business hours," a representative of the agency said.

"The Medicinal Products Act does not allow for a situation in which there is only someone without specialized education — a customer service representative — [working] at an open pharmacy," they explained. "The law includes this requirement to guarantee patient safety and security. Pharmacy services include many aspects, and consultations are just one part of these services."

The agency representative noted that business owners' initiative to offer video consultations as an additional service in the pharmacy is a positive of thing, however, provided that the security of delicate personal data is ensured.

More than 170 pharmacies across Estonia operate under the Apotheka brand. The trademark is owned by Magnum AS, the owner of which, Up Invest, also owns the news agency BNS.

Editor:Aili Vahtla

Read more news on our site.

err.ee
apotheka stateagencyofmedicines pharmacies
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Politics
Chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the owners of construction group Nordecon, Toomas Luman, finds that a prime ministerial candidate should first and foremost be able to answer the question of what will become of the demographic crisis in Estonia. The businessman sees controlled introduction of foreign labor as the solution. A digital construction cluster was created in Estonia a few years back to bring innovation to the s...
Society
Last year saw 27,125 registered offenses, up 0.5 percent from the year before. Violent crime was up by 12 percent to 8,249 offenses. PHOTO: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / Press Association Images / Scanpix Growth was biggest for domestic violence – the police launched criminal proceedings in 3,607 cases that constitutes an increase of more than one-third – annual growth of 37 percent from 2,632 cases in 2017. At the same time, reports of domestic violence we...
Society
TALLINN - Ahead of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, tens of thousands of British citizens have chosen the citizenship of some other country, but only one Brit has recently chosen an Estonian citizenship. Spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS that only one British citizen submitted an application for Estonian citizenship last year and the applicant was also granted the citizenship. Before that, no Brits had soug...
Society
TALLINN - Experts from Finland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands highlighted the importance of decentralization and granting local governments greater decision-making powers at a conference titled "Strong local government -- strong state?" in Tallinn on Wednesday.  All Nordic countries have chosen a model granting local governments significant decision-making powers, thus the central government does not prescribe how local governments are to fulfill the...
Society
The language learning application Drops by game developer Planb Labs, established in Estonia by Hungarian founders, was named Google Play's best app of 2018. With the number of downloads surpassing 10 million, Drops was named Google's app of the year as the revenue of Planb Labs, a company registered in Estonia, increased fivefold, CNBC said. The developer's revenue grew from €335,000 in 2017 to €1.7 million in 2018. The company's shareholders include Hung...
Society
TALLINN - The Estonian Health Board has banned the distribution of chlorine dioxide, also marketed as the Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), the A-component of an unused product, meaning the sodium chlorite solution, must be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. Ester Opik, head of the Health Board's North regional department, said that the banning of the distribution of the product was caused by the fact that MMS, distributed as a cosmetics produ...
Society
Nature cannot abide a vacancy, as the saying goes. If just one year ago, Estonia was battling the sale of MMS and the practice of giving it to children, a new “miracle cure” called Advanced TRS has appeared on the market now. Even though the make-up of the substance is different, the promise to cure autism and cleanse the body of heavy metals, which kind of extreme detox is accompanied by severe side-effects, sounds all too familiar. TRS is recommended to...
Society
Allied NATO battalions will soon mark two years serving in the Baltics. They have worked better than expected but would need prepositioned heavy weaponry and a functional contingency plan in case of a crisis, a report by the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) finds. “We do not know how Russia would have acted had we not welcomed allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017. I’m afraid they would have tested our resolve,” one of...
Society
The time of filing income tax returns is nearly upon us. The new income tax system, in effect since last year, will obligate many women who went on maternity leave toward the end of the year to make additional income tax payments, while those who give birth in the middle or at the beginning of the year have no such obligation. What this means is that some women will owe the state simply for giving birth “at the wrong time”. Laura Roop, who went on maternit...