Self-care medicines could generate major savings through radical drop in need for doctors’ appointments

Increased use of self-care medicines would reduce the need for doctor’s appointments and would also decrease the medicines reimbursement expenditure. Improving the efficiency of the healthcare system through self-care medicine should become one of the core objectives of the national self-care programme. The selection of the available self-care medicines must be extended in a responsible manner.

​Based on a survey commissioned by Pharma Industry Finland PIF, the cost incurred in 2010 for patients seeing the doctor in order to get a prescription for gynaecological microbial infection medicines was 5.9 million while the corresponding cost for allergy prescriptions was at least 9.2 to 13.7 million. In addition to the medical costs, the Kela reimbursements for allergy medicines amounted to about 5.5 million euro.

The healthcare system would make annual savings of 20 to 25 million if the medicines for these health problems were in more extensive self-care use.

- The burden on society would be smaller as a result of lower medicines reimbursements and fewer doctors’ appointments, Senior Adviser Maija Gohlke-Kokkonen of PIF comments on the survey.

Resorting to self-care medicines is an uncomplicated and rapid way for the patient to have the necessary care when the ailment is a familiar one or its symptoms are easily recognisable. Patients must receive sufficient information on the treatment of their ailment and the correct use of the medicine.

- Patient safety must always constitute the cornerstone of self-care medication. The switch of prescription-only medicines to the self-care medicines category must take place with due attention to patient safety, Maija Gohlke-Kokkonen adds.

She also points out that while the above questions are important per se, this would also be a genuinely effective way to improve the efficiency of the healthcare system.

PIF issued its opinion to the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea on the national self-care medicines programme. PIF insists that the responsible extension of the self-care medicines selection should become one of the core objectives of the programme.

 

Highlights
Patient safety must always constitute the cornerstone of self-care medication.
Increased use of self-care medicines would increase resources elsewhere in healthcare.
Responsible extension of the self-care medicines selection should be an objective for the national program.
28. Apr 2014