Obtaining a licence to open a pharmacy
The following three types of pharmacies may be opened in Latvia:
- General or open type pharmacies
- These pharmacies are permitted to pack medicinal products. This type of activity is allowed only in branches of pharmacies that have pharmacists.
- Also, packaging of medicinal products upon receipt of a prescription from a physician or veterinary practitioner and a written request from a medical treatment institution or veterinary medical care institution is permitted. This type of activity is allowed only in branches of pharmacies that have pharmacists.
- They may issue medicinal products upon receipt of a prescription from a physician or veterinary practitioner or a written authorisation by a veterinary practitioner.
- They may distribute medication to medical treatment institutions, social care institutions and natural persons.
- Closed type pharmacies or pharmacies of medical treatment institutions
- Packaging of medicinal products is permitted.
- They may also prepare medicinal products according to the requests of medical treatment institutions.
- It is permitted to distribute medication to medical treatment institutions.
- These pharmacies are subject to a special provision prohibiting them to distribute medication to natural persons.
- Veterinary pharmacies
- They are permitted to distribute non-prescription and prescription veterinary medicinal products.
- Distribution of the goods intended for animal care, as well as instruments and goods used in veterinary medicine is permitted.
- These pharmacies may also issue prescription veterinary medicinal products upon receipt of a veterinary prescription or a written request from a veterinary practitioner.
- They must comply with the provision that only a pharmacist is permitted to prepare medicinal products.
- These pharmacies are permitted to pack veterinary medicinal products.
A pharmacy (not a veterinary pharmacy) can be established in the form of:
- a pharmacist’s practice;
- a joint practice;
- a capital company (it is mandatory that no less than 50 % of the shares of a capital company must be owned by a pharmacist or at least a half of the members of the board or administrative body of this capital company must be certified pharmacists).
A pharmacy may be established by a pharmacist’s assistant according to the following conditions:
- he or she must register as an individual merchant or establish a capital company;
- he or she must comply with the provision that in the amalgamated municipality, city or parish of the amalgamated municipality, where the pharmacy is to be established, the number of inhabitants shall not exceed 4,000 and there are no other pharmacies or branches of pharmacies within the range of five kilometres. However, this regulation does not apply to persons signing an employment agreement with a certified pharmacist;
- a pharmacy may operate as a capital company if the pharmacist’s assistant owns at least 50 % of the shares of this capital company;
- a special permit – licence for a period of five years – shall be issued for operating of a pharmacy.
A pharmacy may open branches. General type pharmacies may open branches in an amalgamated municipality, city or parish of an amalgamated municipality, where the number of inhabitants does not exceed 4,000 and there are no other pharmacies or branches of pharmacies within the range of five kilometres.
The pharmacy establishing the branch must be indicated in the name of the branch.
In order to commence operation of any pharmacy, it must comply with the following conditions:
- premises, equipment, facilities complying with the laws and regulations must be ensured;
- relevant personnel must be ensured;
- a special permit (licence) for opening a pharmacy must be obtained.
A pharmacy, which is not a veterinary pharmacy, shall be managed by a pharmacy manager, who is responsible for its operation and has obtained a pharmacist professional qualification certificate.
A pharmacist and pharmacist’s assistant working in a pharmacy must register with the Pharmacists’ Society of Latvia according to the procedure stipulated by the Cabinet of Ministers and must comply with the ethics code approved by the said society.
A pharmacist and pharmacist’s assistant who has acquired education in a state which is not a Member State of the European Union or a state of the European Economic Area, or in other countries according to international agreements and whose diploma is recognised, in order to commence independent practise in a pharmacy, must work for at least one year in a pharmacy under surveillance of a pharmacist.
A pharmacy is responsible for the following:
- quality of the medicinal products it distributes;
- provision of pharmaceutical care;
- medicinal products may be purchased only from companies manufacturing medicinal products, wholesalers of medicinal products and pharmacies by drafting relevant accompanying documents;
- medicinal plants may be purchased also from natural persons, but they can be distributed only if an appropriate permit from the State Agency of Medicines has been obtained or – in regard to plants intended for animals – if a permit from the Food and Veterinary Service has been obtained.
General type and closed type pharmacies must comply with the following conditions:
- they may prepare, control and distribute medicinal products only if it is done by specialists with pharmaceutical education;
- in a branch of a pharmacy located in an amalgamated municipality, city or parish of an amalgamated municipality, where the number of inhabitants does not exceed 4,000 and there are no other pharmacies or branches of pharmacies within the range of five kilometres, the medicinal products may also be distributed by a health care professional;
- however, the operation of such pharmacy branch must be discontinued within one month, if another pharmacy or branch of a pharmacy which employs a specialist with a pharmaceutical education is opened in this area.
Licensing and certification
The procedure is governed by the Cabinet of Ministers. Licences are issued by the State Agency of Medicines.
The Latvian Pharmacist Society has established and maintains a register of pharmacists and pharmacist assistants, as well as it certifies the length of a person’s professional experience.
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