Reforms in the health-care sector, including the pharmacy sector, can have different rationales. The Swedish pharmacies were prior to 2009 organized in a state-owned monopoly. In 2009, a liberalization of the ownership took place, in which a majority of the pharmacies were sold to private owners. The rationales for this liberalization changed profoundly during the preparatory work, making it probable that other rationales than the ones first expressed existed. The aim of this study was to explore the underlying rationales (not stated in official documents) for the liberalization in the Swedish pharmacy sector, and also to compare the expectations with the perceived outcomes. [---]