The breakdown of pharmaceutical wholesales is as follows:
- Pharmacies buy over 70 percent of all medicines. Prescription-only medicines account for 87 percent and self-care medicines 13 percent of the total.
- Hospital sales are about 27 percent of the whole.
- Other sales account only for about 2 percent of all sales. The wholesales of nicotine replacement therapies to grocery stores is the largest share of the other sales that also include
- special permit products and parallel exports.
90 percent of prescription-only medicines sold to pharmacies are reimbursable products, thus constituting the bulk of the medicine purchases of pharmacies.
Regulation impacts pharmaceutical sales
The pharmaceutical market is closely regulated because people's health is involved.
The laws prescribe the way in which
- medicines may be marketed
- adverse reactions are monitored
- the society participates in pharmacotherapies through the reimbursement system.
Changes in regulatory tools are immediately reflected in pharmaceutical sales.
Price competition moulds the market
Innovation can only take place if there is an expected return on the investments made. Money is the precondition for research and development in all sectors – also in the pharmaceutical industry.
Patent protection guarantees the return on the investment made in research. In the western world, the inventor has an exclusive right to the product for a determined period of time after which others can copy or further refine the invention. There are several companies in the pharmaceutical branch focusing on the sale of generic medicines.
Many changes have cause considerable transformation to take place in the Finnish pharmaceutical market. Price competition has been boosted through the general substitution and reference price systems.
When generic substitution was first introduced, several generics companies entered the Finnish market, further activating the price competition. At the same time, the selection of medicines has become wider, with many options of the same pharmaceutical substance available for the consumer.