Information package: Medicines and the reimbursement system
Kela has several responsibilities in the area of medicines. The following is a brief overview of the Finnish prescription drug reimbursement system, medicine consumption and costs, and the statistics and research produced by Kela on topics related to medicines.
Prescription drug reimbursement expenditures continued to increase in 2021
Kela paid a total of 1.71 billion euros in prescription drug reimbursements in 2021, continuing an increasing trend. The reimbursement expenditure increased by 4.7%, or 76 million euros, over the previous year.
Reimbursements were in 2021 paid to 2.96 million persons - more than half the Finnish population. The number of recipients grew by 0.1% or 3,400 persons over 2020.
Over the recent years, the fastest increase in reimbursement expenditures has been seen in cancer medications and in immune response modifiers. The total expenditure on these medicines came to 615 million euros in 2021. This was an increase of 42 million euros, or 7.4%, over 2020.
Other medication categories showing a strong increase in reimbursement expenditures included diabetes drugs and anticoagulants. Reimbursements for direct factor Xa inhibitors grew by 11.6 million euros (16%), while reimbursements for diabetes drugs increased by 10.3 million euros (10%).
The price competition in pharmaceuticals arising from generic substitution and reference pricing appears to have cut reimbursement expenditures in certain drug categories. Still, the rise in expenditures driven by the adoption of new drugs remains for the time being greater than the moderating effect of price competition.
General information about the prescription drug reimbursement system and the rates of reimbursement
For information about the Finnish prescription drug reimbursement system and the rates of reimbursements, please see the following links:
- Prescription drug reimbursement system: Reimbursement of medicine expenses (kela.fi)
- Inclusion of medicines in the reimbursement scheme Inclusion of medicines in the reimbursement scheme (kela.fi)
- Rates of reimbursement for medicine expenses: Rates of reimbursement (kela.fi)
- How Kela implements decisions on the reimbursement eligibility of medicines: Process followed by Kela after Hila has issued its decision (kela.fi)
- Generic substitution and the reference price system: Generic substitution and the reference price system (kela.fi)
Information about the reimbursement status and prices of specific medicines is available in Kela’s Medicinal Products Database:
- Medicinal Products Database: Medicinal Products Database (kela.fi)
Kela research related to medicines
The research that Kela’s research unit does on medicines and the pharmaceutical sector focuses on the structures and systems inherent in the pharmaceutical sector; the prescribing, consumption, costs, reimbursements and availability of medicines; and the promotion of rational drug therapy.
Kela research staff are also involved as experts in development projects within the pharmaceutical sector and help to prepare statements on drug pricing and reimbursability.