Pharmacy in Latvia during the first Soviet occupation (1940-1941)

S. Lauze, B. Mauriņa, V. Šidlovska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The first period of the independent state of Latvia lasted from 1918 to 1940. During this period, pharmacy in Latvia had reached a high level of development. The study covers the period after the loss of independence, when the beginning of World War II marked a major crisis in the development of pharmacy in Latvia. The aim of the study was to compile and systematize information available in published and unpublished sources on the impact of the Soviet occupation (1940-1941) on pharmacy in Latvia, which has not been studied before. The main idea of the study was to find evidence that the Soviet occupation decreased the development capacity of Latvian pharmaceutical industry and narrowed its development opportunities. At the same time, the study reflects part of the general political, ideological and economic environment in Latvia over that period. The study is retrospective and descriptive. Materials from Latvian State Historical Archives and the National Archives of Latvia, and publications from the 20th century press of Latvia were used in the study. In one year, the Soviet system attempted to aggressively transform Latvian pharmaceutical industry to match the USSR standards. This meant the destruction of the capitalist system and the free market, as well as the introduction of centralised management. The radical changes were poorly organised and unsuitable candidates were appointed to positions of responsibility. There is evidence that pharmacy in Latvia experienced complete chaos during that period: private enterprises were nationalised, the number of pharmacy professionals decreased, and medical products from abroad were not supplied to the Latvian market. The Latvian population was rescued from total lack of medications by the last major medication purchase from Germany and the Netherlands shortly before the occupation. All the USSR actions in the pharmaceutical industry were coercive. With the occupation of Nazi Germany in the summer of 1941, the Soviet functionaries left the industry. However, in 1945, during the second occupation, the previous procedures were renewed and their results strengthened. It leads to the conclusion that the Soviet political system had an adverse effect on the development of pharmacy in Latvia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-510
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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