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Information package: Medicines and the reimbursement system

Published 23.2.2024

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.

Medicine reimbursement expenditure increased in 2023, but more moderately than in previous years

Kela paid a total of 1.8 billion euros in medicine reimbursements in 2023. Reimbursements increased by 1.2%, or 21 million euros from the previous year. Reimbursements increased less than in 2022 or 2021, when they increased by 3% (51 million euros) and 4.7% (76 million euros).

The number of recipients of reimbursements was slightly over 3 million in 2023. Thus, more than half of the Finns received reimbursements. The number of recipients increased by 1.7%, or 51,000 persons, compared to 2022.

Over the recent years, the fastest increase in reimbursement expenditure has been seen in cancer medications and in immune response modifiers. The total expenditure on these medicines came to 611 million euros in 2023.

There is also a large increase in the reimbursements for ADHD medicines. In 2023, the reimbursements paid for these medicines increased by 5 million euros, or 28%. From 2019 to 2023, the number of people receiving reimbursements has grown from 41,000 to over 100,000, and paid reimbursements from 9 million euros to more than 22 million euros.

Price competition due to generic substitution and the reference price system seems to have reduced reimbursements in some pharmacotherapeutic groups. For example, reimbursements for adalimumab used to treat rheumatic diseases, decreased by 16% although the number of people receiving reimbursements increased by 10%. Reimbursements were paid to more than 9,000 people in 2023.

Active price competition is also reflected in the reimbursements of the cancer medicine lenalidomide, for example. Lenalidomide entered the reference price system in Finland in April 2022. In 2023, lenalidomide reimbursements decreased by 95%, or more than 11 million euros, compared to the previous year. At the same time, the number of people receiving reimbursements increased by a little under 100 persons.

The change in the price list of medicines in 2023 also lowered the prices of prescription medicines.

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:

Information about the reimbursement status and prices of specific medicines is available in Kela’s Medicinal Products Database:


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.

Additional information about medicines and research on them

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