Drugs and sunbeds

Today, Sunday 17th January 2010 is a historic date. It is the day that the first non state-owned pharmacist opens its doors to the public. This marks the start of the dismanteling of a government-owned monopoly and is designed to give the public more freedom of choice and improved customer service. I applaud it.

This is indicative of the changing culture in Sweden – a move from state control to a privatised market defined by competition. It’s a move from collective control to individual choice.

However, Sweden’s national culture of collectivism sits deep and isn’t changed over one night.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority demanded this week that all local councils should immediately shut down their solariums due to health risks and prevent people from sunbathing. This is a clear example of the Swedish state attempting to control the choice of the individual citizen. Surely people have the right to choose if they want to visit solariums, no matter how unhealthy it might be, especially if it helps them get through the dark half of the year? Not everyone can afford a winter holiday abroad.

In the debate about privatisation of pharmacies, some Swedish politicians argued that releasing medicine freely on the market would turn Sweden into a nation of drug abusers. As if the average Swedish citizen is too simple-minded to handle the overwhelming access to paracetamol.

I guess it’s the same with sunbeds.

4 thoughts on “Drugs and sunbeds

  1. Hurrah! I can now cure my headache on Sunday morning instead of battling on until Monday morning when the state trusts me enough to allow me to buy painkillers.

  2. I wouldn't say that allowing privatization of pharmacies creates drug abusers, but I will say that it creates an atmosphere that drugs are use to fix almost everything. Common sense decreases. Aliments that over time will go away isn't fast enough, we must have the drugs to make it go away faster, to heck with the side effects with the drugs.

  3. Well, I sure am a Swede. To me it feels like a step back. But maybe that's because the de-monopolization of the electricity market has been a HUGE failure. And where has the "marketization" of schools and hospitals got us? Not forwards.

  4. From what I can work out, any drugs that are actually strong enough to achieve their aim are still only available by prescription anyway, so I'm not too worried. Unless placebos have side effects?

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