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8.2.2012

New national Medicines Information Strategy for Finland

For the first time a national Medicines Information Strategy has been drawn up for Finland. The strategy brings together representatives of the healthcare and pharmaceuticals sectors. The strategy aims to safeguard efficient, safe and economic medical treatment for citizens.

In recent years the self-sufficient and active role of patients has been em-phasised in maintaining health and treating illnesses. At the same time the large volume of official and unofficial sources has become a challenge for both patients and healthcare professionals. Finding objective and reliable information and evaluating existing information is therefore crucial.

The new strategy published by the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea comprehensively describes the current situation regarding medicines information activities, the best practices of different parties, and the shortcomings and challenges of medicines information activities. The strategy was drawn up in co-operation with various parties within the healthcare and pharmaceuticals sectors.

The main objective of the strategy is to increase the amount of evidence-based, objective and reliable information for the general population and healthcare professionals. The right information helps support the safe medical treatment of patients, and from the perspective of citizens, medicines information can also be considered a right that should be included as an essential part of providing medical treatments.

Fimea will create a medicines information network

The national Medicines Information Strategy drawn up by the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea defines common goals for the year 2020 in order to ensure reliable and objective information about medicines and medical treatments for all users of medicines as well as for healthcare and healthcare professionals.

The amount of medicines information can be increased and its quality improved most effectively in co-operation with various social and healthcare professionals. The target for 2020 is that Finland would have a national multi-branch network of pharmaceutical professionals that could produce and distribute evidence-based, objective and reliable information for the general population and healthcare professionals.

Also within Europe a lot of attention has been paid to medicines information in recent years. For example, the Pharmaceutical Forum set up by the European Commission has drawn up recommendations regarding the quality of information aimed at patients and the distribution of information in the various healthcare sectors.

Fimea is initiating the process of creating the network by establishing a Medicines Information Coordination Group. The strategy highlights several proposals for action. The task of the network would be to recommend which proposals for action should be forwarded through co-operation.

Strategic goals for 2020 regarding healthcare and the general population

The strategic goals for 2020 concern both healthcare and the general population. The aim is that, by the end of the target period, all healthcare professionals would use reliable sources of information and services, and that the healthcare sector would possess high-quality and multi-branch medicines expertise. Medicines advisory services would be based on national recommendations and local agreements.

It is also the aim that users of medicines would use reliable sources of information and services, and that the population would have a high level of health literacy.

Strategic goals and tasks 2012–2020, general population and patients

Users of medicines use reliable sources of information and services

  • Reliable information is available
  • The readability and usability of package leaflets is improved
  • Medicines information is also provided for language minorities and other special groups
  • The use of ICT is increased for the distribution of medicines information

The population has a high level of health literacy

  • The health literacy of children and adults is promoted

Strategic goals and tasks 2012–2020, healthcare professionals

Healthcare professionals use reliable sources of information and services

  • Awareness of reliable sources of information is increased
  • The accessibility and usability of medicines information is improved
  • Specialised experts and services are used for medical treatment

Healthcare professionals possess high-quality and multi-branch medicines expertise

  • Medicines information expertise and medicines information training is developed
  • Basic and further education emphasises patient focus, multi-professionalism and supporting self-care.

Medicines advisory services are based on national recommendations and local agreements

  • Medicines advisory services for healthcare are harmonised
  • Medicines information supports medical treatment in different operating environments
  • Medicines advisory services are ensured also for self-care

Read more:

Publications: Medicines Information Strategy (in Finnish, summary in English)
Medicines Information Strategy in Finnish: "Tiedolla järkevään lääkkeiden käyttöön. Lääkeinformaatiotoiminnan nykytila ja strategia vuoteen 2020."

Further information:

Katri Hämeen-Anttila, Development Manager, t. +358 50 577 3075
Pertti Happonen, Director, t. +358 9 4733 4542

E-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@fimea.fi.