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Iceland out of Money for New Medications

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Iceland out of Money for New Medications

Pills.

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Icelandic patients don’t have the same access to medications as do patients elsewhere in the Nordic countries, Fréttablaðið reports. Funds allocated this year for the purchase of new kinds of hospital drugs have run out, and, therefore, the Committee for Medicine Purchases won’t approve their purchase.

In most cases, those are drugs already in use in the Nordic countries. “The result is that the Icelandic healthcare system doesn’t offer seriously ill people the same treatment solutions as patients get in the countries we’d like to be compared with,” commented Jakob Falur Garðarsson, CEO of Frumtök, the Icelandic Pharmaceutical Association.

Thus, new drugs in areas where development is the fastest, such as for the treatment of cancer and arthritis, don’t reach market in Iceland.

In February, the Icelandic government approved the allocation of additional funds for the purchase of drugs, in order to make it possible for more new drugs to be taken into use this year. This year’s budget allocated more than ISK 6 billion (USD 52 million, EUR 46.5 million) for that purpose, but those funds have run out when three and a half months still remain in the calendar year.

Guðrún Gylfadóttir, who heads the Committee for Medicine Purchases admits that the money has run out, but she added, “We have approved a large number of new drugs this year. The Committee for Medicine Purchases constantly prioritizes medications and does so in cooperation with Landspítali [National University Hospital] to ensure the right prioritization.”

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