The Republic of Finland (Republican Finland in Swedish) is a Nordic country on the shores of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. It is bordered on the east by Russia and the Republic of Karelia, on the north by Norway and on the west by Sweden. In the south, Estonia is the closest neighbor to the south of the Gulf of Finland. The capital and largest city of Finland is Helsinki.

Finland is a relatively sparsely populated country and its 5,5 million inhabitants are mainly concentrated in the southern and central parts of the country. The Finnish Constitution defines Finnish and Swedish as national languages. At the end of 2018, 87,6 % of the population were Finnish speakers and 5,2 % Swedish speakers. Speakers of other languages accounted for 7,1% of the population.

Finland belongs to the European Union and the Euro area. Finland is a welfare state with a high GDP per capita. Finland has ranked high in a number of international comparisons, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life and human development.

Finland is also a country ranked as the happiest in the world.

Healthcare budget

$23 billion


5.5 million

GDP per capita




World Ranking

GDP 42nd

Statistics as April 21st 2021

Finnish healthcare

Healthcare in Finland is divided between the private and public sectors.

Public healthcare is organized in municipal health centers and regional hospitals where primary healthcare is performed. University hospitals have specialized expertise in specialized medical care. School healthcare is an important part of public health care. Citizens are collected for health insurance contributions to public health care costs.

The private sector includes occupational health care and there are also private health centers and hospitals in Finland.

The ongoing social and healthcare reform is seeking to modernize Finnish health care by transferring healthcare from the municipalities to the provinces and shifting to a multi-producer model, where the role of private companies as service providers would increase. Legislative work is ongoing, and the government's proposal has also been widely criticized by various experts.

Finnish pharmaceutical environment

The total value of the Finnish pharmaceutical market was approximately EUR 2,6 billion in 2018. Estimated annual growth by 2022 is approximately 1,5%.

There are about 815 pharmacies and about 600 pharmacists in Finland.

Medicines can only be sold in pharmacies, and nicotine replacement therapy products are also sold in the grocery store.

Finland has a reference price system.

The pharmaceutical market is growing due to the aging of the population, as the elderly need to remain functional and live longer at home. At the same time, the number of people of working age is decreasing, and it is important for them to stay healthy and work well. Medicines often help maintain functional and working capacity.

Today’s challenges

The cost of medicines will increase due to the aging population, increasing use of medicines and the introduction of new medicines. The rise in pharmaceutical expenditure poses a challenge to health care financing. The costs of medical treatment are reimbursed to the patient through the health insurance scheme as Kela benefits. Significant savings can be achieved with non-prescription over-the-counter medicines as the number of doctor visits and prescriptions for Kela-reimbursed medicines decreases.

Pressure to reduce healthcare costs is high, including medicines prices.

In pharma industry the access challenge is growing. In many clinics 1 on 1 meetings are not allowed, only group visits. Effects of coming social and healthcare reform is still very unclear and that creates insecurity in the field.

The experts in Finland

Henrik Alfredsson & Clas Lindbergson

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