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Annual report 2017

2017 has been a very good year for us working in and for pharmacies in Norway

There are three events that I would like to highlight: The governmental decision to start our New Medicine Service “Medisinstart”, a new common IT system covering all pharmacies and a new pricing-model that emphasize the work pharmacies actually do.

Read CEO Per T. Lund's summary of 2017. 

In December, we finally got a breakthrough when the Norwegian Parliament decided to finance New Medicine Service. 

Patients starting with a new treatment against cardiovascular diseases are now offered a guided consultation in pharmacies. This is important to ensure compliance and hence the best outcome of treatment. By allowing the patient to request the service himself, the Norwegian Parliament also strengthened the patient's rights.

With new healthcare services in pharmacies, such as New Medicine Service (Medisinstart), new solutions in the IT system are required, which brings us over to the second major event. In October, our subsidiary, DIFA, signed an agreement with Capgemini on the development of a new IT system that will replace important parts of today's FarmaPro.

The third event is linked to the fact that, for many years, the pharmacy industry is longing for a new pricing-model that is less related to the price of the drug, and consider the work the pharmacist does. With the changes that were adopted by the Norwegian Parliament in the autumn of 2017, we get this kind of model.

However, these events do not matter if there are no pharmacists. The need for educated pharmacists in Norway remains high. Hence, the 10 % increase in the number of applicants for pharmacy studies in Norway were very greeted. In the same period, the number of pharmacies increased to 899. Easy access to high professional competence is one of the pharmacies' trademarks.

Thank you all for contributing to making 2017 a very good year. I now look forward to the startup of New Medicine Service in pharmacies in Norway!

Facts and figures

899 Pharmacies

There are 5 850 inhabitants per pharmacy in Norway

169 000 customers each day

Over 52,3 million customer visits

We spent 5 076 kr on medicines each

Those older than 67 years used 8 500 kr

Introduction of New Medicine Service approved

In the negotiating of the 2018 state budget the Norwegian government proposed an introduction of New Medicine Service for patients who start a treatment with cardiovascular medicines. The parliament decided that the patient could ask for the service themself and that there was no need for a doctor's request, which was in line with the Norwegian Pharmacy Association’s wish.

“Medisinstart” (New Medicine Service), is a service helping patients securing better compliance. The patient is entitled to two follow-up talks with a certified pharmacist. The purpose of the conversations is to increase the motivation and follow the treatment prescribed by the doctor, clarify questions or ambiguities and clarify any concerns related to use. 

New IT-solution for all Norwegian pharmacies

Increasing digitalization and introduction of new pharmacy services create higher pressure on the pharmacy’s IT system. In October we signed a deal with Capgemini, worth 427 Mill. NOK. The new IT-system will cover todays’ functions such as administration of prescriptions, refunds and reporting. New areas will be developed for information and advising, pharmaceutical services, medical records and integrate mechanisms to secure the requirements from the EU falsified medicine directive (FMD). The new IT-system will collect information from all Norwegian public systems and registers and make it accessible to the employees. Support for prescription and administration of medications at pharmacies will be an essential component in the new solution.

The new IT system will secure better advice and patient information. “Eik” will ensure a more effective interaction model, reduce public costs and streamline the operation and management of the public systems and registers. Difa AS, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Norwegian Pharmacy Association, manages the agreement with Capgemini, which develops the new IT solution.

What the customers think

9 of 10 have trust

to the pharmacies and their employees.

Good customer service

is most important when entering a pharmacy

8 out of 10 are satisfied

with their local pharmacy.

Location is important

when we choose pharmacy.

77 per cent receive information

about the pharmaceuticals without asking

83 per cent

wants information and advice

The pharmacy mark-up scheme –new prices from January 1st, 2018

The Norwegian Medicines Agency signalized possibilites for changes in the prcing-model. HenceThe Ministry of Health and Care Services followed-up this in the state budget for 2018. The proposed changes included increase the crown surcharge and reduce the percentage. This was in line with The Pharamcy Associations's demands. The pharmacy association have been working with replacing the old model with a new model where pharmacies also get paid for the services they perform.


The Norwegian state determines the maximum rates for prescription drugs. Up until recently, the mark-up has been increasingly degressive. The percentages on the purchase price have been reduced, while the surcharge per sold package has increased. 

The changes are the following (from 1st of January 2018):

  • Supplement in the mark-up increased from 25 NOK to 29 NOK 
  • The Percentage rate 1 is lowered from 7.0 to 2.25 per cent. Percentage rate 2 is unchanged at 2.25 per cent
  • A new surcharge for all freezers and refrigerators medicines is introduced 0.5 per cent of the AIP
  • The turnover fee is lowered from 0.45 to 0.30 percent of AIP
  • The revenue-sharing-model is removed

This was also done

National information campaign on generic substitution

In October, The Norwegian Pharmacy Association launched an information campaing about generic substition of medicines. The purpose is to get more patients to say “yes” to substitution when asked at the pharmacy. If patients accept the switch the Norwegian state saves more than two and a half billion NOK - every year, which could be used to improve the health for more patients. The information campaign is a collaboration with each pharmacy and the campaign period was in October. The 2017 campaign may have resulted in people being less negative to generic substitution. In the population survey (Apotekbarometeret 2017) only 17 per cent reported they have a negative attitude to generic substitution.  In 2016 the number were 20 per cent. 


When writing a prescription on a medication, it is the effect the doctor is concerned with. The same medicine can be produced by several companies, and the medicines get different names. The medicines may also have different shape and color, but the active substance is always the same. Pharmacists are experts in pharmaceuticals. If they suggest a change, it's because they know the substitution is equally good. In addition, the Norwegian Medicines Agency (Statens Legemiddelverk) guarantees that medicines on the generic substitution list have the same effect.

Pharmacy education and recruitment

Still, there is a general lack of pharmacists in Norway. Hence, pharmacies struggle to attract the best candidates. The Norwegian Pharmacy Association has for a long time worked for youngster tp choose pharmacy education. Every year the Norwegian Pharmacy Association conducts a student recruitment campaign, to attract more applicants for pharmacy education. The Norwegian website www.farmasifag.no and the Facebook page «Farmasifag» are part of the campaign. In 2017, there was a very welcomed increase. In total there were 2,767 qualified pharmacy applicants to 292 available seats. 

Pharmacies offer good job opportunities, good salary and the ability to work all over the country.

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