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null The Medicines Barometer surveyed the burden of medicinal treatment on everyday life

The Medicines Barometer surveyed the burden of medicinal treatment on everyday life


According to the Medicines Barometer 2021 population survey, adverse effects and health care activities were the most common factors in medicinal treatment being a burden on everyday life. There are differences between long-term illnesses in how medicinal treatments are perceived to help and how often one has to be in contact with health care concerning treatment.

These results are from a population survey conducted by Fimea in the autumn of 2021. The survey aimed to explore how medicinal treatment was monitored, how burdening it is and how the procurement of medicines is experienced at the population level.

Medicinal treatment is burdening and there are problems with it

Sixty percent of respondents felt that they ought to tolerate the possible adverse effects of medicines and 42% were concerned about possible adverse effects. Thirty-six percent felt that too many healthcare professionals shared the responsibility for their care and 22% found it difficult that their illnesses necessitated contacting healthcare often.

Of those who had taken prescription medication in the past week, 61% had experienced at least one medication-related problem. The most common problems were related to adverse effects (47% of respondents who experienced problems with medical treatment) and ineffectiveness (35%). Other problems were having to use a medicine for too long (18%) and having too many medicines in use (17%).

Multiple factors support the success of medicinal treatment

The survey also showed that there are factors that support the success of medicinal treatment: nearly all responders who were using prescription medicines knew why they had been prescribed. Twenty percent of all respondents, and 26% of the chronically ill, reported that they had an up-to-date list of their medication. Respondents monitored their health in a number of ways: most commonly by observing their general well-being (73%), by taking self-measurements (43%), and by monitoring their weight (38%).

Almost all respondents (95%) felt that pharmacies were close enough to obtain medicines easily. Seventy-five percent would prefer to visit an actual pharmacy than order a medicine from an online service. However, 52% were willing to buy medicines from an online pharmacy service. Thirty-six percent would rather buy their over-the-counter medication from a grocery store than from a pharmacy.

The Medicines Barometer is conducted every other year

The Medicines Barometer is a population survey conducted every other year to explore Finnish people’s views on medicines. The survey has been conducted in 2015, 2017 and 2019. The Barometer complements register data about the population’s medicine use.

The Medicines Barometer 2021 population survey was conducted in September 2021. An invitation to participate in the survey was sent to 10,105 members of Taloustutkimus’s Internet panel, aged 18 to 79. A stratified random sample was obtained that considered the participants’ age, sex, level of education and residential area. A total of 2,081 people, 52% of whom were women, responded to the survey. Seventy percent of the respondents had some kind of long-term illness. The most common illnesses or risk factors for illness were high blood pressure (28%), high cholesterol level (16%) and musculoskeletal disease or injury (excluding rheumatism) (14%).

Read more (report in Finnish)

Fimea kehittää, arvioi ja informoi -julkaisusarja 3/2022: Lääkehoidon kuormitus arjessa (

The Medicines Barometer study

Ask more

  • Johanna Jyrkkä, Researcher, Tel. +358 295 223 514
  • Katri Hämeen-Anttila, Head of research and development, Tel. +358 295 223 513
  • Email addresses are of the form