Finnish digital prescriptions used to buy meds in Estonia 7,000 times

A pharmacy in Estonia (photo is illustrative).
A pharmacy in Estonia (photo is illustrative). Source: OÜ Marja Apteek

The first prescription drug bought at an Estonian pharmacy on the basis of a Finnish digital prescription was issued in January 2019. Since then, Finns utilized the cross-border service some 7,000 times last year.

"When the opportunity to buy medicinal products in Estonia on the basis of a Finnish digital prescription was launched a year ago, the number of prescriptions filled by Finns rose immediately," said Timo Danilov, head of the Estonian Pharmacies Association (EAÜ), adding that figures indicate that the Finnish are clearly interested in buying medication in Estonia.

According to Danilov, it is likely that one factor behind their interest are the reasonably priced medicinal products in Estonia.

"Regarding over-the-counter medicinal products in particular, statistics show that over-the-counter medicinal products are 30-50 percent more expensive in Finland than in Estonia," he explained. "One example is the drastic price difference for the popular over-the-counter (OTC) gel Voltaren Emulgel, which costs an average of €9 at Estonian pharmacies and €19 in Finland. There are many reasons for these price differences, but it is clear that drug prices in Estonia have remained at a reasonable level. At that, drug markups have remained unchanged for the last 15 years."

The price of a drug is determined by the combined effect of state-imposed markups and pharmaceutical manufacturers' base prices. Pharmaceutical manufacturers influence the price of a medicinal product by 73 percent, the state in turn via VAT by 9 percent, the pharmacy can add an average markup of 13.7 percent, and the wholesaler 4.3 percent.

The EAÜ is a nongovernmental organization founded in 2002 whose members currently include 296 pharmacies.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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