Reform of social welfare and healthcare funding and administration will have impact on pharmaceuticals as well

The reform of the regional administration and the social welfare and healthcare systems, the so-called sote reform, has now progressed to the phase in which the legislative bills concerning the administrative framework have been sent out for opinions. 

However, the outlines regarding the patients choice and the simplifying of the current multi-tier financing model and practical legislative proposals are still not completed. Legislative proposals are expected to be sent for comments by the end of the current year.

In 2017 we will be in a position to discuss eventual concrete questions related to medicines and pharmaceutical services. The respective legislative amendments will also be prepared in 2017.

As concerns medicines, the topics include the number of hospital pharmacies as well as procurement units, steering of therapies and assessment of effectiveness as well as the role and structure of the outpatient medicines reimbursement system. Simultaneously with the sote reform, the Government has decided to implement a programme for the rational use of medicines. The aim is to make use of medicines more rational. The published measures are related to the choice of means to be adopted in the medicines savings package for the year 2017.

In this context, the Government will also determine the tasks and responsibilities of university hospitals and their modes of operation which will promote research opportunities in Finland. Simultaneously with the sote reform, the data secure utilisation of the sote data is being prepared.
 

Sote and regional administration reforms as of the beginning of 2019
 

The sote reform aims at equality of the population, integration of the care and significant reduction of the growth of costs.

The reform is necessary because the majority of the municipalities – the administrative level that shoulders the responsibility for social welfare and healthcare expenses – are too small to cope with the increased expenses brought about by the ageing of the population.

This is an ambitious reform, also by international standards: not only does it aim at a horizontal integration of primary healthcare and specialised medical care (including seamless, integrated care pathways and rapid access to care) but also at a vertical integration in social welfare and healthcare (for example, persons with multiple problems, old-age care included in social services). The objective is to concentrate the functions under one direction at the regional level.

The regional administration reform will create a new administrative level between the Finnish municipalities and the Government. This will lead to significant changes in taxation and municipal democracy. In the future, the new regional entities – counties – will be responsible for the social welfare and healthcare services of the inhabitants of their territories. The municipalities will no longer bear the responsibility.