Only few people have an updated list of medicines
Medicine users are willing to participate in the decision-making concerning the choice of medication and discuss their medicinal treatment. Even so, only one out of five, and only one out of three of those who reported a chronic illness, had an up-to-date list of the medicines they use. Attitude towards medicines also splits the respondents – the majority finds medicines useful, but nearly half thinks that medicines are prescribed more than necessary
The information is based on the Medicines Barometer 2017 survey, where attitudes relating to the Finns’ use of medicines were studied by Fimea now for the second time. More than 3,000 people responded to the survey.
Up-to-date information about medications is a necessary precondition for making correct treatment decisions and for giving safe medicinal treatment. Based on the survey results, only one out of five survey respondents, and only one out of three of those who reported a chronic illness, had an up-to-date list of the medicines they use.
This complicates the communications related to medicines and the implementation of rational pharmacotherapy. However, a foundation for establishing communications and partnership between health care professionals and patients exists, because most of the respondents were willing to participate in the decision-making concerning the choice of medication and discuss their medicinal treatment.
One of the objectives of the Rational Pharmacotherapy Action Plan that promoted the rational use of medicines was that every user of medicines has an up-to-date list of medicines that is jointly prepared and maintained in collaboration with a health care professional.
The majority of the respondents think that medicines help them live a better life and that they are useful. However, nearly half of the respondents think that medicines are prescribed more than necessary and that they are relied too much. Thus, there is need for increasing interaction and open communication of medicinal treatment decisions in order to take medicine user’s individual wishes and concerns into account. This is also necessary in view of adherence to medicinal treatment.
Use of an up-to-date list of medicines promoted on the Finnish National Medicines Day
The aim of the annual theme day, the ‘Suitable Medicine’ public awareness campaign launched in connection with the Finnish National Medicines Day on 22 March, is to promote partnership between patients and health care professionals.
The objective is to encourage the users of medicines to ask and to engage in active discussion about their medicinal treatment with health care professionals and pharmacy personnel. The campaign also promotes the preparation and maintenance of an up-to-date list of medicines. An up-to-date list of medicines is a concrete tool in the communication and collaboration between a medicine user and health care professionals and for the implementation of rational pharmacotherapy.
‘Medicines Barometer’ survey conducted for the second time
Fimea conducted the Lääkebarometri (‘Medicines Barometer’) survey for the first time in 2015. The aim of the Medicines Barometer 2017 survey was to investigate and describe, at population level, how commonly an up-to-date list of medicines is used, how ready and willing the Finns are to participate in the decision-making concerning the choice of medication and how they perceive medicines-related information and advice. The survey also investigated the respondents' perceptions of medicines, the prevalence of financial difficulties in obtaining the necessary medications and the respondents' views about the reimbursement and cost of medicines. The survey was carried out in the form of a postal survey in September–November 2017. A total of 3,622 people responded to the survey, 54% of whom were female and 45% male. In the future, the Medicines Barometer survey will be carried out every second year.
Serial Publication Fimea Develops, Assesses and Informs 7/2018: Medicines Barometer 2017. Preconditions for partnership in pharmacotherapy (pdf, in Finnish)
Serial Publication Fimea Develops, Assesses and Informs 3/2016: Medicines, reimbursement of medicines and decision-making on treatment – a population view. Medicines Barometer 2015. (pdf, in Finnish)
Finnish National Medicines Day, ‘Suitable Medicine’ public awareness campaign (in Finnish and Swedish)
- Hanna-Mari Jauhonen, Research Physician, tel. +358 29 522 3512
- Katri Hämeen-Anttila, Head of Research and Development, tel. +358 29 522 3513
- The e-mail addresses have the form firstname.lastname@example.org.