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State Aid

State Aid: Norway must change the financing of publicly-owned hospital pharmacies



The Norwegian authorities must take appropriate measures in order to bring the financing of public hospital pharmacies in line with the state aid provisions of the EEA Agreement. This is proposed by the EFTA Surveillance Authority in a decision adopted today.

The main purpose of the hospital pharmacies is to provide pharmaceuticals and services to public hospitals. However, they are also active in the retail of pharmaceutical products and non-pharmaceutical products ‘over the counter' to the general public.

«In addition to their publicly-funded tasks, the public hospital pharmacies offer products on a market in competition with private pharmacies. The current financing system does not prevent the transfer of state resources meant for the non-commercial activities to the pharmacies' retail activities. Therefore, we propose several measures in order to avoid cross-subsidising», Oda Helen Sletnes, President of the EFTA Surveillance Authority, said.

The proposed measures include inter alia that separate accounts shall be kept for the retail activities of the public hospital pharmacies and that all costs shall be correctly assigned or allocated.

The Authority is also concerned about the absence of any requirements to achieve a profit on the public hospital pharmacies' retail activities. Furthermore, the Authority finds that the tax exemption for the public hospital pharmacies, to the extent it covers income from the retail activities, should be abolished.

The Norwegian authorities have until 20 December 2013 to decide whether to accept the measures proposed by the Authority.

A non-confidential version of today's Decision will be published in the register of state aid decisions on the Authority's website, normally within a month.


For further information, please contact:

Mr. Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press & Information Officer
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
Mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187

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