Latvia’s medical services sector is heavily influenced by the government. The state owns all of the key hospitals and rehabilitation institutions, and the state budget provides centralized funding. As a result, state-run tenders account for a significant portion of medication and pharmaceutical procurement. The pharmaceutical retail and wholesale industry, on the other hand, is left to private companies.
A pharmaceutical company could join the market by establishing a branch office in Latvia or engaging a Latvian wholesaler with an established brand name and client base.
Before accessing the market, all pharmaceuticals sold in Latvia must be certified by the State Drugs Agency. Although FDA results will be useful in the certification process, certification by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not adequate to market medications in Latvia.
Types of Pharmacies
There are three types of pharmacies in Latvia
General or open-type pharmacies
- These pharmacies are allowed to package pharmaceuticals. This type of practice is only permitted in pharmacies with pharmacists on staff.
- Packaging of medicinal products is also permitted upon receipt of a prescription from a physician or veterinary practitioner, as well as a written request from a medical treatment facility or veterinary medical care facility. This type of practice is only permitted in pharmacies with pharmacists on staff.
- They may issue pharmaceutical items after receiving a prescription from a physician or veterinarian practitioner, as well as a veterinary practitioner’s written authorization.
- They have the authority to dispense medication to medical treatment facilities, social care facilities, and private individuals.
Closed pharmacies or pharmacies affiliated with medical treatment facilities
- Medicinal product packaging is authorized.
- They may also prepare pharmaceuticals in response to requests from medical care facilities.
- Medication distribution to medical treatment facilities is permitted.
- These pharmacies are subject to a unique regulation that prohibits them from dispensing drugs to individuals.
- They are permitted to distribute veterinary pharmaceutical items, including non-prescription and prescription.
- It is permissible to distribute items for animal care, as well as devices and goods used in veterinary medicine.
- Upon receipt of a veterinarian prescription or a written request from a veterinary practitioner, these pharmacies may also offer prescription veterinary medical items.
- They must adhere to the requirement that pharmaceutical products can only be prepared by a pharmacist.
- These pharmacies are allowed to package veterinary pharmaceuticals.
Any pharmacy must meet the following requirements before it may begin operations:
- It is necessary to guarantee that the premises, equipment, and facilities conform with all applicable laws and regulations;
- Appropriate personnel must be in place;
- A specific permit (licensing) is required to start a pharmacy.
A pharmacy that is not a veterinary pharmacy must be administered by a pharmacy manager who is in charge of the business and has a pharmacist professional qualification certificate.
A pharmacist and pharmacist’s assistant working in a pharmacy must register with the Latvian Pharmacists’ Society according to the Cabinet of Ministers’ procedure and adhere to the society’s approved ethics code.
To begin independent practice in a pharmacy, a pharmacist and pharmacist’s assistant who received their education in a country that is not a member of the European Union or a member of the European Economic Area, or in other countries according to international agreements and whose diploma is recognized, must work for at least one year in a pharmacy under the supervision of a pharmacist.
Pharmacies, both open and closed, must meet the following requirements:
- They may only prepare, manage, and distribute medicinal items if they are done by professionals with a background in pharmacy;
- Medicinal products may also be distributed by a health care professional in a branch of a pharmacy located in an amalgamated municipality, city, or parish of an amalgamated municipality, where the population does not exceed 4,000 and there are no other pharmacies or branches of pharmacies within a five-kilometer radius;
- However, if another pharmacy or branch of a pharmacy employing a specialist with a pharmaceutical education opens in this area, the operation of such pharmacy branch must be discontinued within one month.
Licensing and certification
The Cabinet of Ministers is in charge of the procedure. The State Agency of Medicines is in charge of issuing licenses.
The Latvian Pharmacist Society has established and maintains a registration of pharmacists and pharmacist assistants, as well as certifying the length of professional experience of individuals.