Mid-term review of PM Sipilä's Government and it`s impact on pharmaceutical branch

In its mid-term review in April, PM Sipilä's Government decided to persist with the long-term aim of public economy balance and to bridge the 10 billion euro sustainability gap. A major tool to this end is the above-mentioned reform of the social welfare and health services (sote and regional reform), which should generate 3 billion euro worth of savings by the year 2030.

From the perspective of the innovative pharmaceutical industry, the core issues of the mid-term review were the following:

  • No further medicines savings are envisaged for the rest of the Government’s term.
  • Strong support for research; the preparation of core projects supporting pharmaceutical R&D will continue.

No further medicines savings

During the past few years, Finland has imposed cuts in the medicines reimbursements paid by the National Insurance Institute Kela, constituting one element in the overall savings in public spending targeted at core areas of the Finnish society.  The most recent savings measures imposed on medicines entered into force as of the beginning of 2017 as the medicines reimbursements expenses payable by the health insurance were decreased by 10%.

The public finance plan for the years 2018-2020, adopted during the mid-term review of the Government, did not envisage any new savings for the pharmaceutical branch. 

New funding for research

The Government of PM Sipilä invests in private product development by companies, modernization, top-level research and effectiveness of research by allocating resources to, for example,  the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, the Academy of Finland and the universities. This funding will also be utilised for the projects aiming at improving the operating environment of pharmaceutical research. The preparations are still underway. 

Starting to operate as of the beginning of 2018, the Business Finland umbrella will merge the current Tekes and Finpro services related to innovation funding, exportation, investments and tourist promotion.

Sote and regional reform

The sote and regional governance reforms progress in Parliament according to plan (see above).   

Moreover, the Government decided in its mid-term review to support the implementation of the reform and to incorporate a company called SoteDigi  which will be responsible for developing the nation-wide customer and patient data system solutions for the sote organisation as well as for other future digital solutions. The Government’s financing framework also includes other ICT development expenditure related to the sote system.

Number of pharmacies increases while licence procedures become smoother

The Government also issued outlines for a more flexible regulation of pharmacies. According to the decisions, the current practice of granting the pharmacy licence to the pharmacy owner personally will remain in force while the number of pharmacies will be increased; this means deregulation within the current system.

Moreover, the Government decided to make a survey on the potential of releasing certain self-care medicines to the grocery stores (such as medical creams but not, for example, analgesics), progressing cautiously and with emphasis on medicines safety.  So far, no deadline is set for the preparatory survey work which has not yet been launched. The responsible authority is the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.