Social welfare and healthcare

Pharmacotherapy – integral part of social welfare and healthcare

Based on the law, all Finnish people have the right to receive social welfare and healthcare services. The pharmaceutical service system is an important element of the Finnish social welfare and healthcare system. These pages focus on the social welfare and healthcare system from the pharmaceutical branch and medicines policy perspectives.

The municipalities are responsible for organising the public primary healthcare and social welfare services. The hospital districts constituted by municipalities are in charge of specialised medical care.  The public services are complemented by the companies that act as private service providers in the social welfare and healthcare sectors.

Funding of the social welfare and health care system

A large share of the public social welfare and healthcare services is funded through municipal taxation. Part of this financing comes in the form of subsidies from the State allocated to the municipalities so that they can arrange the services.

Private social welfare and healthcare services are funded mainly by the users. However, society supports the users of private services through the social insurance system, also funded by the State together with the wage and salary earners.

Reforms underway

The municipality will decide how to organise the public social welfare and healthcare services. The municipality may

  • produce the services either independently or in collaboration with other municipalities
  • purchase the services from a co-operation area, hospital district, private service provider or organisation.

The Finnish healthcare system has been criticised for the lack of co-operation between the primary healthcare and specialised medical care. It has been suggested that there is poor collaboration between social welfare and healthcare operators.

In the next few years, the structures and contents of the Finnish social welfare and healthcare system will undergo a thorough change. The pharmaceutical service system is closely connected to this reform.