Medicines wholesale prices continue to decrease

In 2013, the wholesale prices of medicines dispensed by pharmacies dropped markedly (- 2.5%). The reason for this was the price competition boosted by generic substitution and by the reference price system as well as by the fact that the prices of reimbursable medicines are set for a determined period of time. The cut in wholesale prices also pushed the prices down.

​The prices of the medicines included in the reimbursement regime tend to decrease annually, almost without exception. In some years, the decrease is further accelerated through measures such as the changes made to the reimbursement system, while the price drop may be more moderate in other years.In 2013, the downward price trend was boosted by the 5% cut imposed on the prices of the reimbursable medicines that are excluded from the reference price system.

The society’s contribution to a medicine, i.e., its reimbursement status calls for a reasonable wholesale price which is adopted, upon application, by the Pharmaceuticals Pricing Board, the competent agency operating under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The decision remains in force for a determined period, and in order to maintain the medicine’s reimbursement status, the pharmaceutical company must submit a new price application. This is a simple way to ensure that medicine prices remain reasonable from the patients’ point of view. Once the patents of the medicinal products expire, the factor affecting the prices is the ensuing price competition.

PIF follows the medicines price trend on an annual basis, using the wholesale index as the tool for the purpose. Statistics Finland prepares the index based on medicines that have been available on the market for at least two years. Hospital medicines are excluded from the index. The material is constituted by the price data of about 6,000 medicines packages.

Trend in medicines wholesale prices as from the year 2005 (2005=100)

The wholesale price refers to the pharmaceutical company's and wholesaler's share of the medicine price. The retail price is constituted by the wholesale price, taxes and the pharmacy's margin. The medicines wholesale price index has been prepared by Statistics Finland.

For further information, please contact:
Senior adviser Nadia Tamminen (+358 40 748 4373) and Sirpa Rinta, Director of pharmaceutical policy (+358 40 533 0666).

Highlights
The wholesale prices of medicines continued to drop in 2013.
PIF follows the trend on annual basis.
29. Apr 2014