The Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) has launched a free application to explore trends in prescription medicine consumption in Finland. The latest version of the application comes with new language versions, English and Swedish. All datasets are available as open data.
The application provides information on reimbursed outpatient prescription medicines in terms of costs, number of purchases and number of patients on a weekly basis in 2019 and 2020. Medicines are classified into groups at five levels of the ATC-classification system.
Information based on administrative daily data of reimbursed prescription medicines dispensed by community pharmacies in Finland. Data is gathered and combined by Kela.
COVID-19 pandemic 2020 and medicine consumption in Finland
A substantial increase in medicine consumption was seen in Finland during weeks 11 and 12. In week 12, the number of prescription medicines reimbursed in pharmacies increased 36 % compared to the corresponding week in 2019.
Consumption was especially high in respiratory system medicines (ATC group R). National authorities took steps to ensure that everyone gets access to necessary medicines. However, some medicine shortages did occur due to increased demand.
Medicine hoarding leveled off
The most recent data shows that by week 19 the weekly overall medicine consumption had decreased to a level below to that of the previous year. However, the cumulative consumption still lies above the level of previous year in week 19. (Figure 1.)
Figure 1. Number of prescription medicines reimbursed in pharmacies.
Research Manager, Kela
Head of Research Team, Kela