Finnish authorities make sure that the general medicines price level remains reasonable. The authorities have boosted price competition, for example, through the introduction of the generic substitution and reference price systems.
When a new outpatient prescription-only medicine, available at pharmacies, is introduced in Finland, normally an application is also made to include it in the reimbursement system.
In this case, the price authorities will ensure that the price applied for the product is reasonable.
The wholesale price of the non-reimbursed medicine can be freely decided by the pharmaceutical company. In Finland, the patient always pays the same sum for the medicine, irrespective where it is bought.
The outpatient medicine price contains the wholesale price, the pharmacy margin and taxes.
Self-care medicine prices are similarly the same in every pharmacy.
The initial price of the medicine is often valid for the maximum of one year – and that is mostly the highest its price ever gets. In time, the use of the new medicine increases as doctors gain more experience on the product. Already before the patient numbers have started to grow significantly, the price of the medicinal product has been decreased at least once or twice.
The prices of hospital medicines go through a competitive bidding process, normally organised every two years. The patient does not pay separately for the medicines administered in hospital care but the medicines expenses are included in the price of the hospital day. Every patient also has a expense ceiling after which the treatment days are fully paid by society. Please click here to read more about hospital medicines. PIF has long follow-up records of the wholesale prices of outpatient medicines. The index prepared by Statistics Finland shows that the prices of medicines, especially those in the reimbursement system, continue to drop from year to year. On the contrary, prices of self-care medicines have shown a slight increase.
The price decrease is mainly caused by price competition but also the temporary character of adopted price decisions. The authorities have several means to ensure that the prices remain reasonable or at least do not go up.
Please click here to read more about the medicine development costs.