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More than a third of people with a long-term illness miss some medicine doses


According to the recent population survey Medicines Barometer 2023, people feel that pharmacotherapy is necessary, even though even more than a third of people with a long-term illness sometimes miss a dose. All in all, medicine users are still well placed to manage their pharmacotherapy in everyday life.

When it comes to questions about medicines and treatment and how it should be carried out, medicine users still need guidance from healthcare professionals or reliable medicines information in another format. It is important that the information is available easily and in an understandable format.

"Medication counselling is every citizen’s right and an important part of purchasing a medicine. In the Medicines Barometer, four out of five respondents found it important to have an opportunity to get counselling from a pharmacist when purchasing medicines. We also need professionals to support adherence to medication and  carrying out rational pharmacotherapy", says Eija Pelkonen, Director General of Fimea.

It can be concluded from the survey that medicine users have the willingness and readiness to participate in decisions related to their treatment and to seek out information related to medicines. The respondents also thought that there is a good coverage of pharmacies. 

Information on medicines most commonly from pharmacies and physicians

Little over half of the respondents felt that they had been given useful advice by a physician or a pharmacist. Only a few responded that they had not been given the information they needed. The respondents especially hoped for more information on adverse reactions to medicines and the interaction of medicines. 

"Medicine users participate actively in planning their pharmacotherapy. According to the survey, 75% of the respondents want to discuss and 70% want to decide on the choice of medicine together with their physician", explains Johanna Jyrkkä, Research and Development Specialist at Fimea. 

The most common sources of medicines information were pharmacy professionals (78%) and physicians (58%). Approximately a fifth of the respondents had looked up information online with the most commonly mentioned sources being the Terveyskirjasto site (52%), the Lääkeinfo site (43%) and online pharmacy websites (37%).

People are adherent to pharmacotherapy even though they sometimes miss a dose

Of the respondents, 66% had a long-term condition. The most common diseases or their risk factors were elevated blood pressure (25%), elevated blood cholesterol (16%), other musculoskeletal disorders or injuries (excluding rheumatism) (13%) and asthma or other lung disease (11%). 

Nearly all respondents on long-term medication felt that their medication was necessary. Of the respondents with a long-term condition, 37% had occasionally and 3% had often missed a dose in the past month. People used various ways to help them remember to take their medicines, the most common being to combine it with a routine (46%), keeping the medicine in sight or in a certain place (38%), and using a pill dispenser or some other kind of pill organiser (27%).

More than half of the respondents had only seldom or never trouble understanding matters related to their health presented in written materials. When starting a new medication, 60% of the respondents read the package leaflet always or often, while 45% of the respondents said that they have difficulty understanding the contents of the package leaflet at least sometimes. 

Enough pharmacies in suitable places

Over 90% of the respondents were satisfied with the locations and number of pharmacies. However, 26% of the respondents had been in a situation in which they needed to purchase medicines, but the pharmacy was closed. Just over half (53%) of the respondents could purchase their medicines from an online pharmacy service. Under half (45%) of the respondents would prefer to buy their medicines from a grocery rather than from a pharmacy. 

As many as 83% of the respondents of the Medicines Barometer considered it important to get counselling from a pharmacist when purchasing medicines.

The Medicines Barometer is carried out every two years

The Medicines Barometer is a population survey conducted every two years to examine Finns’ views on medicines. The barometer has been carried out since 2015. The Medicines Barometer complements register-based information concerning medicine use by the population.

The aim of the Medicines Barometer 2023 was to examine the population’s experiences with pharmacotherapy, participating in decision-making concerning medicine treatments, guidance and information on medicines, health literacy and adherence to medication. In addition, we explored the views on purchasing medicines. The online survey was conducted by Verian in September-October 2023. Invitations to participate in the survey were sent out to a total of 6133 Norstatpanel members aged between 18 and 79. Sampling was carried out using stratified random sampling with regard to age, sex and residential area. A total of 2020 individuals responded to the survey. The material was weighted to correspond with the population at national level, which resulted in a weighted respondent count of 2033. 

The results of the Medicines Barometer 2023 will be published in Fimea’s KAI publication series on Medicines Day on 14 March.

Lääkebarometri 2023: Lääkkeen käyttäjien edellytykset lääkehoidon toteuttamiseen arjessa (Julkari)

More information on the Medicines Barometer on the Fimea website (in Finnish)

Ask more

  • Johanna Jyrkkä, Research and Development Specialist, tel. 029 522 3514
  • Heidi Mikkola, Researcher, tel. 029 522 3665
  • E-mail addresses take the form [email protected]

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