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International price comparison 2020

Since 2014, the Swedish Dental and Pharmaceutical Benefits Agency (TLV) has published an annual international price comparison report. In the report Sweden’s prices on pharmaceuticals have been compared with 19 other European countries.

When the first report was published in 2014, Swedish pharmaceutical prices were higher than the European average. Since then, Sweden’s prices have dropped compared with other countries and the Swedish pharmaceutical prices are now among the lowest in Europe. The main explanation for this is that the Swedish currency has weakened.

In the report, several analyses exclude the effect of the exchange rate. This eliminates large parts of the relative price reduction. With a fixed exchange rate, the Swedish pharmaceutical prices, relatively speaking, remain at around the same level as in 2016.

Swedish prices are higher for pharmaceuticals between 5 and 15 years old

Out of the 20 countries in this year’s comparison, 13 countries have higher pharmaceutical prices than Sweden. The prices for new pharmaceuticals in Sweden are in line with other countries upon roll-out. However, when pharmaceuticals without generic competition have been on the Swedish market between 5 and 15 years, Sweden’s prices are higher than the average. The reason for this development is that prices drop in other countries but not in Sweden.

For pharmaceuticals with competition, meaning pharmaceuticals within the Swedish ‘product-of-the-month’ system, prices have increased in recent years compared with other countries. However, Sweden has, together with the Netherlands, the lowest prices in Europe for these pharmaceuticals. The reason for this is the effective competition in the generic substitution system (‘product-of-the-month’ system).

About the report

TLV monitors and analyses the development of pharmaceutical prices in Sweden and internationally. The international price comparison report is part of TLV’s mandate to monitor the development on the Swedish pharmaceutical market from an international perspective and is the sixth report of its kind. The analysis is based on national list prices at pharmacy wholesale 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, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Slovakia, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, and Austria.

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28 January 2021