The Icelandic Medicines Agency (IMA) determines the maximum wholesale price of prescription medicines in Iceland. When making pricing decisions, IMA generally considers the prices of similar medicines in the Nordic countries, as specified in the laws.
Recently, Norwegians announced an increase in the prices of certain antibiotics, and Swedes raised the price cap on medicines meeting specific conditions. On 1 September this year, a new procedure on determining the maximum wholesale price of medicines in Iceland came into effect.
The goal with the procedure is to prevent shortages and increase the availability of marketed medicines in Iceland. Low prices and limited use can discourage pharmaceutical companies from marketing their medicines. Price increases are thus beneficial for pharmaceutical companies, and it is hoped that this will reduce the likelihood of medicine shortage of important medicines and increase the chances of medicines being marketed in Iceland.
For some years, pharmaceutical companies have been able to apply for an up to 15% markup on the maximum wholesale price of marketed medicines, provided that their annual turnover is below a certain minimum. IMA has now gone even further with the new procedure, aiming to reduce the chances of shortages of important medicines and increase the availability of marketed medicines in Iceland.
The main changes that took effect on 1 September are as follows:
- Under the new procedure, pharmaceutical companies can apply for higher prices than the general reference for specific medicine categories. This includes certain antibiotics, eye medications, and medicines in forms primarily intended for children, such as mixtures and rectal suppositories.
- Importers can now request higher prices than the general reference for essential medicines in case of a serious shortage problem.
- More flexibility is allowed for low turnover medicines. The reference turnover for low-priced packages has been increased from 6 million to 7 million ISK. Additionally, it is now possible to request higher prices for very low-cost packages.