Generic substitution

Generic products and generic substitution

Generic substitution means the replacement by pharmacy personnel of the medicinal product prescribed by a doctor or a dentist with the cheapest or nearly cheapest generic medicine suitable for substitution. Not all medicines can be substituted with generic products (e.g. medicines used to treat epilepsy and arrhythmia).

Generic products are usually cheaper than the original reference medicine, but offer the same efficacy. Patients with chronic conditions in particular will benefit from lower prices when generic medicines enter the market. In addition, the pricing competition prompted by generic medicines also forces the manufacturer of the reference medicine to lower their prices.

Due to their lower price, generic medicines bring direct cost savings both to the patients and the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). Following the introduction of the generic substitution policy in 2003, several hundred million euros have been saved through the use of generic medicines and generic substitution. At the same time, the Finnish population continues to age and consume more medicines, which are subject to the national medicine reimbursement system administered by Kela. The savings generated by generic products have kept the cost of medical reimbursements at a moderate level despite the fact that new, patented medicinal products are being introduced to the markets.