The majority of voters want to liberalise the establishment of pharmacies
The Finnish pharmacy system must be reformed to serve the needs of citizens more comprehensively – without compromising the high level of safety. More than 60 per cent of voters welcome the liberalisation of pharmacy-related legislation, according to a survey commissioned by the Finnish Commerce Federation.
The Finnish Commerce Federation believes that the establishment of pharmacies should be possible for all operators who meet the requirements set by law and take care of pharmacovigilance and advice. The reform of the pharmacy system can improve the accessibility of essential pharmacy services for citizens in brick-and-mortar stores, regionally and online. Companies in the commerce sector want to serve their customers in ways that suit their lives and finances nationwide at different times of the day, working well, efficiently and in every way safely.
Aula Research Oy commissioned the Finnish Commerce Federation to conduct a survey for parliamentary election candidates and voters by asking whether the legislation related to the establishment of a pharmacy should be liberalised so that the ownership of the pharmacy would be possible for all operators who meet the requirements set by law and take care of pharmacovigilance and advice.
More than half (55 per cent) of the parliamentary election candidates (n=349) fully or somewhat agree on the matter. The most positive view of liberalisation in the survey is taken by the candidates of the Swedish People’s Party of Finland, the National Coalition Party and the Greens.
Up to 61 per cent of voters (n=1,140) fully or somewhat agree with the liberalisation of the establishment of pharmacies. People over 50 years of age are more favourable to liberalisation than those under 50 years of age. Among the various occupational groups, pensioners and entrepreneurs, in particular, have a more positive attitude towards liberalisation in connection with the establishment of pharmacies. Those living in towns with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants, and especially those with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, are the most in favour of the liberalisation of pharmacy legislation. In the electoral district of Lapland, voters are the most favorable to liberalization.
“Older age groups and pensioners see the liberalisation of the establishment of pharmacies as an improvement in the accessibility of pharmacy services as opening hours expand and places of business increase. In smaller communities and sparsely populated areas, access to medicines may be a problem. Especially for those living in these areas, it is important to liberalise the establishment of pharmacies,” says Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director of the Finnish Commerce Federation.
The results are in line with a consumer survey published by the Finnish Commerce Federation in the summer of 2022, according to which nearly 70% of Finns feel that everyday arrangements would be made easier if medicines could be purchased in connection with shopping. The experience is particularly strong in families with children.
Optics stores are a good example of the need to reform the distribution of pharmaceuticals
Medicines must be safely available to everyone everywhere in Finland at the lowest possible price when the users of medicines need them. Optics stores are a good example of an industry where the modernisation of distribution of pharmaceuticals would bring not only clarity and cost-effectiveness to the customer, but also savings for society.
An overwhelming majority of prescriptions for the treatment of eye diseases are written for the customer in optics stores. From the customer’s point of view, it would be easy and economical to manage your own health as effortlessly as possible without having to do business in several places.
Ways to safely reform the pharmacy system:
- Dismantle pharmaceutical ownership – pharmacovigilance, pharmaceutical expertise and medical advice have nothing to do with the form of ownership of a pharmacy.
- Allow online pharmacies only – currently, online pharmacies are tied to existing brick-and-mortar pharmacies.
- The sale of self-medication products deemed to be safe by Fimea in grocery stores will be made possible – it will make people’s everyday lives easier, but the reform will be carried out in a controlled manner in accordance with the safety principles and the recommendations of experts.
- The pharmacy economy will be reformed, creating a pharmacy system that is cheaper for patients and society both.
For further information, please contact:
Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director, Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 (0)50 511 3189, mari.kiviniemi(at)kauppa.fi
Pia Pohja, Director, Pharmaceutical Market, Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 (0)40 545 7285, pia.pohja(at)kauppa.fi
Read more about the Finnish Commerce Federation’s pharmacy goals (in Finnish) >
Aula Reseach survey on the liberalisation of pharmacy establishment 23 February 2023 (in Finnish)