Pharmacotherapy and pharmaceutical service

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for the development of pharmaceutical services and for preparation of legislation on pharmaceuticals.

Pharmaceutical services are an  integral  part  of social welfare and health care services.

The objective of developing pharmaceutical services and the legislation that applies to pharmacotherapy is to guarantee effective, safe, high quality, equitable and cost-effective pharmacotherapy for everyone who needs it.This is also called rational pharmacotherapy. The good availability and the accessibility of pharmaceuticals will be secured in the dispense of pharmaceuticals in all conditions.

Pharmacotherapy as an entity and rational pharmacotherapy

Pharmacotherapy in its entirety can be seen as a value chain, the objective of which is guaranteeing the effectiveness, safety and quality of pharmaceuticals and their sensible use. The value of a medicinal product will increase in steps and the effectiveness of pharmacotherapy will be reached as health benefits if the treatment in its entirety is successful.


Pharmaceuticals-related development, research and innovations

The facilitation of research and development of pharmaceuticals is a requirement for new pharmaceutical innovations. The pharmaceuticals industry functions in a global operating environment.

The industrial manufacture of pharmaceuticals

The industrial manufacture and supervision of pharmaceuticals are legislated by the EU and international agreements. 

Marketing authorisations for pharmaceuticals 

The objective of the system for marketing authorisations is to guarantee the quality, safety and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals.

Controlled introduction of pharmaceuticals

The marketing authorisation system does not take a stand on whether the pharmaceutical is necessary i.e. is there already
an effective pharmaceutical on the market for the illness or whether the health issue can be treated with other methods. The purpose of controlled introduction is to ensure that the existing pharmacotherapies are cost effective, meaning the health benefits afforded by the medicinal product has been assesed in relation to its costs. The use of a pharmaceutical product must be possible so that everyone has access to treatment that is of equally high quality regardless of the illness and its level of severity.

Prescribing pharmaceuticals for outpatients and patients in institutional care

When pharmaceuticals are prescribed for outpatient treatment, pharmacies are required to dispense the pharmaceutical product to the patient. In hospitals prescribing refers to a decision on pharmacotherapy, according to which the pharmacotherapy is conducted.

Distribution and dispensing of pharmaceuticals

The regulation of the wholesale distribution of pharmaceuticals is based on the EU's medicines directive, and wholesale distribution complies with the guidelines for international Good Distribution Practices. The dispensing of pharmaceuticals is the responsibility of retail distributors i.e. pharmacies and hospital pharmacies.

Use of pharmaceuticals

Pharmacotherapy is an integral part of comprehensive care. When pharmacotherapy is successful, it can cure illnesses, slow the progression of illnesses, reduce the symptoms of illnesses and prevent illnesses.  According to research however, only around 50% of people suffering from long-term illnesses use pharmaceuticals in the prescribed manner.

Controlled end of a pharmaceuticals use

To the controlled use of pharmaceuticals belongs also the controlled end of the use. The aim is to target the limited resources in a sensible manner by ending the use of such pharmaceuticals, which according to new information can no longer be held as effective, safe and cost effective.  

Rational pharmacotherapy

Pharmacotherapy serves its purpose when a person takes the correct dose of pharmaceuticals prescribed on medical grounds at the correct time in accordance with instructions and benefits from the pharmacotherapy. Rational or sensible pharmacotherapy is effective, safe, of high quality, quitable and cost-effective.


The memorandum ”Näkökulmia lääkehoitoon ja lääkkeiden jakeluun liittyvistä muutostarpeista” (Points of Views on Need for Changes in Medication and Distribution System of Medicines 
Memorandum) focuses on the large-scale changes required by sensible i.e. rational pharmacotherapy and the health and social sector reform. The range of matters related to pharmaceuticals is extensive and the memo compiled by office preparation includes proposals on the direction for further preparation and more detailed reports. The roadmap for preparation will be updated as specified in the coming Government Programme.

The Memorandum on the Points of Views on Need for Changes in Medication and Distribution System of Medicines and a video of the media event

Three workshops related to the Memorandum on the Points of Views on Need for Changes in Medication and Distribution System of Medicines have been held with three different groups of stakeholders:

Further information

Elina Asola, Senior Specialist 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Safety, Security and Health / TUTO, Biotechnology and Medicines Unit / BILA Telephone:0295163437   Email Address: