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OVERVIEW OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL MARKET IN FINLAND
The macroenvironment for the Finnish pharmaceutical industry is improving. Politically, the new six-party coalition is larger and represents a broader spectrum of opinion than is usual, which could make it unstable. However, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) believes that it will last out its four-year term. Economically, recovery from the downturn is stalling due to the euro area debt crisis. Legally, Finland remains on the USTR’s Watch List in 2011 due to concerns over patent protection. Demographically, Finland has one of the largest proportions of population over the age of 65 in Western Europe. Latest projections expect that the population aged 65 and over will constitute more than one-fifth of the total population by 2017. The ageing population means that healthcare is increasingly focused on preventative care.
The Finnish government has introduced several cost-containment measures in recent years in an effort to curb rising healthcare costs. One of the latest affecting the pharmaceutical market in Finland is a reference pricing system. It is hoped that the new system will reduce the use of expensive pharmaceutical products, thus lowering the costs for patients and reducing the pressure to raise health insurance payments. Generic substitution in Finland has been extended to include products with an analogy process patent. As a result, generic substitution will be more effective in terms of saving money, but Finnish manufacturers of patented original products now enter generic price competition several years before product patents expire in other European countries.
There are three leading domestic producers in Finland; Orion, Verman and Vitabalans. Multinational companies Bayer and Santen also have production facilities in Finland. The top ten pharmaceutical companies in Finland had combined sales of over 1.0 billion euros at wholesale prices in 2010, equal to a share of over half of the market. The leading company was Orion, with a market share of nearly 10.0%. This was followed by Pfizer, Novartis, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline. In the biologic sector, Biotie Therapies completed its acquisition of Synosia Therapeutics in February 2011, while Ark Therapeutics entered into a formal agreement to divest the majority of its woundcare business in the same month.
The competitive landscape section provides comparative company analyses and rankings by US$ sales and % share of total sales – for the total pharmaceutical sector, as well as the OTC, generics, and distribution sub-sectors.