Depending on the type of operation, three types of pharmacies may be distinguished:
1. General type pharmacy – may be established by a physical or legal person with certain limitations regarding establishment and choice of location, and this type of pharmacy may distribute medicines and other medical products in retail sales.
2. Closed‑type pharmacy – may be established only by a medical treatment institution or day hospital, and this type of pharmacy may distribute medicinal products only within medical treatment institutions.
General and closed‑type pharmacies may only operate in compliance with a special permit (licence) issued by the State Agency of Medicines (SAM).
3. Veterinary pharmacy – this type of pharmacy must receive a licence from the Food and Veterinary Service.
Establishment of a general type pharmacy
A general type pharmacy may be established by the following:
1) A physical person – a pharmacist as part of a practice or joint practice in compliance with the Civil Law (as a conductor of economic activity) or as an individual merchant;
2) A legal person (company with share capital) – the shareholder (at least 50% of shares) is a pharmacist or at least half of the board members are certified pharmacists.
A general type pharmacy may be opened only at a pharmaceutical activity location compliant with the following criteria:
- Populated area (town or village) – if the maximum number of pharmacies is not exceeded (if the number of inhabitants does not exceed 4000, two pharmacies may be opened/may operate in the relevant populated area) and at least 500 meters from another functioning general type pharmacy where medicinal products are prepared or which operates 24 hours a day.
- Outside of populated areas (municipality rural territory) – at least 5 km from another functioning general type pharmacy.
In exceptional cases, a pharmacy may be opened also by pharmacist’s assistant (as an individual merchant or the only shareholder of a company with share capital), if the number of inhabitants in a municipality, a municipality town or a municipality rural territory does not exceed 4000 and there are no functioning general type pharmacies or pharmacy branches within 5 km (in such a case S
AM issues a limited licence for general type pharmacy for 5 years)
How to receive a licence for a general type pharmacy?
In order to receive a licence, a free-form application must be submitted to SAM requesting approval for the chosen location of pharmaceutical activity. The documents mentioned in Paragraph 16 of the Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No. 800 of 19 October 2011 “Procedure for the Licensing of Pharmaceutical Activity” and Paragraph 7 of the Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No. 610 of 2 August 2011 “Criteria for the Location of Pharmacies and Pharmacy Branches” must be attached to the application.
SAM shall adopt a decision regarding approval of pharmaceutical activity location within 5 working days.
After receipt of a positive decision from SAM, the merchant shall be entitled to submit the application stipulated by Paragraph 15 of the Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No. 800 of 19 October 2011 “Procedure for the Licensing of Pharmaceutical Activity” – “Application for issuance or renewal of special permit (licence) for establishment (operation) of a pharmacy or for variations to submitted information and documentation”.
Submission options: SAM Client Service Centre (Room 11), via mail (address: Jersikas street 15, Riga, Latvia‑1003) or an e‑signed application sent to the following SAM e‑mail address: email@example.com.
A state tax must be paid for issuance of licence (prior to receipt of licence):
- For a pharmacy opened in a town – 284.57 euros;
- For a pharmacy opened outside of a town – 42.69 euros.
State treasury account for transfer of state tax: [link]. Upon making the payment transfer, the following must be indicated in the “purpose of payment”: state tax for issuance of a new licence for pharmacy in [name of municipality].
After receipt of documentation at the State Agency of Medicines an invoice for expertise on documentation and preparation of decision in accordance with the SAM paid service pricelist (Article 19.1.1 and 19.1.4) shall be sent to the e‑mail address indicated in your application. Upon making payment, the invoice number and date, as well as name, surname or title of the payer must be indicated in the “purpose of payment”.
SAM will send the special permit (licence) to the legal address or a different address specified by the applicant.
Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No. 800 of 19 October 2011 “Procedure for the Licensing of Pharmaceutical Activity”
Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No. 610 of 2 August 2011 “Criteria for the Location of Pharmacies and Pharmacy Branches”
Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No. 288 of 23 March 2010 “Regulations Regarding Operating of Pharmacies”
Frequently asked questions
In which town a general type pharmacy may be opened?
At the moment, general type pharmacies may not be opened in the largest towns in Latvia (including Riga) because the number of maximum pharmacies according to number of inhabitants (number of inhabitants per one pharmacy) has been significantly exceeded. The situation has developed historically before the introduction of criteria for location of pharmacies, as well as due to the fact that over the last 10 years the number of inhabitants declared in specific populated areas has decreased significantly.