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Swedish pharmaceutical prices are decreasing as a result of a weaker krona

Since 2014, Sweden has experienced lower prices in relative terms for pharmaceuticals compared to other European countries. The prices of pharmaceuticals have fallen and the weak krona has strengthened the decline. This is shown in 2018 year's international price comparison report from the Dental and Pharmaceutical Benefit Agency.

For medicines without competition, Sweden's price index has fallen by about ten percentage points between 2014 and 2018 vis-à-vis European countries. About sixty per cent of this change is due to the change in exchange rates, i. e. by the weaker krona, and around forty per cent of the change is due to changes in list prices. Prices in Sweden today are in line with other countries. Of the 20 countries in the comparison, 8 countries have higher medicine prices than Sweden.

Swedish relative prices vary over the life cycle

The prices of new medicines in Sweden are in line with other countries at launch. However, during the time interval when medicines are between five and 15 years old, Sweden's prices are above average. The reason for this is that prices fall in other countries but not in Sweden. For medicines that are 15 years and older, the Swedish index is significantly lower than the average. The reason is the effective competition in the system for generic substitution (the “product-of-the-month system”). For medicines that are not considered substitutable and thus not included in the system, prices fall only to the European average after 15 years. The mandatory reduction of 7.5 per cent is an important tool for lowering the prices of medicines older than 15 years.

The Swedish generic substitution system continues to lower prices on medicines

In Sweden, pharmaceuticals within the generic substitution system make up about 60 percent of the total use of medicines in volume, but only 20 percent of the value. In Sweden, prices for these medicines are low and only Denmark currently has lower prices. Between 2014 and 2018, Sweden's prices fell by about 25 percentage points for these medicines and this year Swedish prices were approximately 75 percent lower than the average for the 20 countries in the study.

About the report

TLV monitors and analyzes the development of pharmaceutical prices in Sweden and internationally.

The international price comparison report is part of TLV's mission to follow developments in the Swedish pharmaceutical market in an international perspective and is the fifth report of its kind.

The analysis is based on national list prices at the AIP level (the pharmacy's purchase price).

The analysis compares the price level of pharmaceuticals used in Swedish outpatient care with 19 other European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Slovakia, Spain, UK, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Austria

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10 April 2019