Browsing by Subject "Social pharmacy"

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  • Ruohonen, Iida (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Tiivistelmä – Referat – Abstract 15D is a generic, 15-dimensional instrument for measuring health-related quality of life (HRQoL). 15D instrument has been used in multiple studies evaluating the effectiveness of medical interventions in Finland and abroad. 15D-instrument is a self-administered questionnaire traditionally administered in a paper-and-pencil format. With the emergence of novel technologies, electronic modes of delivery of the 15D instrument are becoming increasingly common as methods for data collection. However, there are no previous studies evaluating electronic modes of delivery of the 15D instrument. In previous studies, electronic instruments measuring patient-reported outcomes have shown strong measurement equivalence and high acceptability. The aim of this study is to evaluate acceptability and measurement equivalence of electronic delivery modes of the 15D instrument. A repeated measures, randomized cross-over study was conducted in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at Helsinki University Hospital during April, May and June of 2019. A total of 160 outpatients who participated in the study were randomized into four groups of 40 patients. Every participant filled two delivery modes of the 15D instrument: a single paper-and-pencil questionnaire and one out of two electronic questionnaires provided in the study. The two electronic delivery modes delivered in the study were a web-based questionnaire and a mobile app-based questionnaire. The order and the mode of the administration varied between the groups. The patients filled the first questionnaire before the doctor’s appointment at the study site. The patients were then asked to fill the second questionnaire after the doctor’s appointment at home within 3 days after the first administration. Information about acceptability concerning different delivery modes were collected using an end-of-study questionnaire. As a part of determining patient acceptability, response rates for different delivery forms and mode preferences were examined. Measurement equivalence was assessed by intra class correlation coefficients (ICCs) and comparison of mean and median for 15D scores and weighted kappa for item scores. Paired observations were also visually analysed with Bland-Altman plots. Subgroup analyses were conducted for identifying differences in observed patient characteristics (age, sex, base-line HRQoL). 86 participants (females 53.5 %; males 46.5 %) aged 18 to 80 (mean ± SD: 48.2 ± 15.7) filled both questionnaires of the 15D instrument resulting in an overall response rate of 54.1%. Response rates for filling both questionnaires were lower in both groups that filled electronic forms at home (41.0 % for mobile app-based and 52.5 % for web-based questionnaires) than in the paper-and-pencil groups (60.0 % and 62.5 %). Overall 74.1 % preferred the electronic delivery mode compared to 16.5 % preferring the paper-and-pencil mode. Statistically significant differences favouring the web-based form over the paper-and-pencil form were observed in the speed of use (p = 0.002) and in the possibility to edit answers (p = 0.018). Similarly, mobile app-based form was favoured over paper-and-pencil group in the possibility to edit answers (p = 0,041). In terms of measurement equivalence for 15D index scores, high association across paper-and-pencil and web-based questionnaires (ICC: 0.910 [Cl 95 % 0.794-0.962] and ICC: 0.935 [Cl 95 % 0.862-0.971]) and high to moderate across paper-and-pencil and mobile app-based questionnaires (ICC: 0.949 [Cl 95 % 0.883-0.978] and ICC: 0.928 [Cl 95 % 0.601-0.980]) were observed. A clinically important and a statistically significant difference in mean 15D scores was identified in the paper-mobile app group. A statistically significant but not clinically important difference in medians was observed in mobile app-paper group with participants returning the second delivery form in time. This study provides strong evidence supporting the use of electronic delivery modes of the 15D instrument regarding measurement equivalence and patient acceptability. However, differences in electronic delivery modes may have an impact on measurement equivalence and representativeness of study participants. In this study, a small sample size and limited data on study participants limit the generalizability of the results. Most effective ways of collecting data electronically concerning all age and patient groups must be identified in future studies. Electronic data collection methods offer many opportunities for utilising HRQoL data. For example, it is important to assess whether HRQoL-instruments can be used as clinical tools in the future.
  • Toivonen, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Abstract Faculty: Faculty of Pharmacy Degree programme: Master of Science in Pharmacy Study track: Social pharmacy Author: Laura Toivonen Title: Deficiencies and risks related to medication use management in nursing homes identified by Regional State Administrative Agencies during their inspection visits Level: Master´s thesis Month and year: November 2021 Number of pages: 94+7 (appendice) Keywords: Medication safety, medication use process, nursing home, older adult, risk management, guidelines for safe medication practices Supervisor or supervisors: M.Sc. Pharm, PhD student Suvi Hakoinen, University of Helsinki, Keusote; Professor, PhD Marja Airaksinen, University of Helsinki Where deposited: ethesis.helsinki.fi Additional information: Abstract: Nursing home residents are often characterized by older age, multimorbidity and polypharmacy. Medication safety has become an issue as part of client/patient safety in nursing homes in Finland. Still, little is known about medication safety risks and their management in this care context. The aim of this study was to identify deficiencies and risks associated with medication use management in nursing homes using inspection visits by the Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVIs) as a data source. In addition, the aim was to evaluate what issues the AVI-authorities pay attention to in the medication use management during their inspection visits in nursing homes. The data consisted of the latest inspection reports (n = 24) prepared by the Regional State Administrative Agencies (n = 6) on the basis of their nursing home visits (nursing homes for older people). The data were analysed by deductive content analysis methods. In addition to qualitative documentary analysis, quantitative indicators were used to illustrate the frequency of the risks and deficiencies -observed in different phases in the medication use process to identify phases posing risks most commonly. Reason´s system-based risk management theory was applied as a theoretical framework for the study. A total of 372 deficiencies and risks related to medication use process were identified from the inspection reports (n = 24) of Regional State Administrative Agencies. The largest proportion (58,9 %, n = 219) of the deficiencies and risks concerned the management and quality management of the medication use process. Particularly, deficiencies and risks related to lack and competence of personnel were emphasized. Deficiencies and risks were also identified in the self- assessment guidelines for safe medication practices used in the inspected nursing homes. The second highest number of risk observations (26,9 %, n = 100) was reported for ordering, delivery and storage of medicines. In particular, the deficiencies and risks were reported for the storage and warehousing practices. Reported risk observations in other phases of the medicines use process were rare. This study showed that the medication use process in Finnish nursing homes includes deficiencies and risks endangering the safety of the older nursing home residents. In order to manage the risks, both self-assessment and inspection practices by the authorities need development. One way to improve and harmonize both self-assessment and inspection practices could be use of a comprehensive checklist covering of all the relevant issues required for the safe medication practices in nursing homes. Increasing collaboration with pharmacists could also be a way to improve medication safety in nursing homes.
  • Hou, Kathy (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Antidepressant use among children and adolescents has become more common in many countries. The prevalence of antidepressants is higher for boys but during adolescence girls’ have a higher antidepressant prevalence. In previous studies, the prevalence of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) has increased. The aim of this study was to investigate antidepressant use among Finnish children and adolescents aged 1–17 years during 2008–2019. The differences of antidepressant use in different age groups and genders were investigated. Furthermore, the secondary objective was to examine the trends in prevalence and costs of the five most commonly used antidepressant agents. This was a nation-wide register study. The data for this study was from Kelasto which is a statistical database maintained by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. The extracted data was from 2008–2018 and included each persons’ age, gender, dispensed drug and costs. The data extracted was for 1–17-year-olds who had been dispensed reimbursed antidepressants from community pharmacies. The data was analyzed with Microsoft Office’s Excel program. The results were transferred in to tables and reported as prevalences by age groups, genders, antidepressants and costs. The prevalence of antidepressant use among children and adolescents was 5,0 per 1000 in 2008 and it increased to 10,3 by 2018. In the youngest age group of 1–6-year-olds, antidepressant use decreased. Antidepressant use increased slightly among 7–12-year-olds. Antidepressant use increased the most among 13–17-year-olds. 13–17-year-old girls had the higher antidepressant use prevalence throughout the study. The same group had a 2,4-fold increase in prevalence during the study period which accounted for the biggest increase in the study. The most used group of antidepressants was SSRIs. The total cost for antidepressants among children and adolescents increased by 73,7 % during the study period. The most commonly used antidepressant agents were fluoxetine, sertraline, escitalopram, mirtazapine, and venlafaxine, respectively. Fluoxetine was the most used agent throughout the study. In 2014, sertraline surpassed escitalopram and became the second most used antidepressant agent. Escitalopram and venlafaxine’s cost per user decreased during the study. The cost per user stayed stable for mirtazapine. Fluoxetine and sertraline’s cost per user increased. The Kelasto database does not include data on indications for prescriptions. The prevalence of antidepressants does not necessarily correlate directly to depression among children and adolescents because antidepressants can be used to treat other diseases. More studies need to be conducted on different off-label uses for antidepressants among children and adolescents. This study only investigated the trends on cost for the five most commonly used antidepressants. Further studies on antidepressant costs among children and adolescents are needed. Additionally, it is essential to investigate the reasons for the increase in antidepressant use among children and adolescents.
  • Luhtanen, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The pharmacy operations are strictly regulated in Finland and the operation of a pharmacy business requires a licence. Number of community pharmacies has stayed quite steady for the past 10 years. At the end of the year 2019 there were 817 pharmacies or their subsidiaries in Finland. The number of pharmacies is expected to increase, since 29 new pharmacies has been established since 2016. The inspection of pharmacies is a part of the legal duties of the Finnish Medicines Agency. In Finland, pharmacies are inspected based on a risk assessment, as often as it is necessary to ensure appropriate operations of a pharmacy. During a pharmacy inspection, the focus is on operations that are critical to drug safety and medication safety. The aim of an inspection is to make sure that pharmacy operations comply with the regulations. There are only few studies made on remote inspection of the pharmacies. The Finnish Medicines Agency hasn’t made remote pharmacy inspections before. The aim of this study was to develop, validate and test a questionnaire, which could be used to inspect community pharmacies remotely and to develop and test a process for remote inspections. The study was done in two parts. In the first part, a draft of the questionnaire was developed by studying the regulations and laws regulating the operations of a pharmacy and by using a content analysis. The material for the content analysis was a pre-inspection questionnaire form, answers to the pre-inspection questionnaires and defect lists of the inspection reports of those pharmacies (n=37), which had answered to the pre-inspection questionnaire before pharmacy inspection in 2019. Content of the pre-inspection questionnaire and the answers of pre-inspection questionnaire were compared to the content of the defect lists of inspection reports. The aim of the comparison was to find out how the existing pre-inspection questionnaire could be utilized when developing the questionnaire for the remote pharmacy inspections. In addition, the listed defects of the inspection reports were categorized to explore what were the most common defects observed during pharmacy inspections. In the second part of the study, the content of the developed questionnaire was validated by using a three round modified Delphi survey. Seven experts with good knowledge of the pharmacy inspections were chosen to the Delphi panel. The aim of the Delphi rounds was to achieve full consensus among the experts about the content of the questionnaire. Alongside the Delphi rounds, a process to remote inspect a pharmacy was developed. The remote inspection questionnaire and the process were tested internally in the Finnish Medicines Agency at the end of the second stage of study. The draft of the questionnaire included 15 sections and 164 questions. Based on the comments received during the Delphi rounds, the content of the questionnaire was modified. On the third Delphi round a full consensus of the content of the questionnaire was achieved among the experts. The final questionnaire for the pharmacy remote inspection included 14 sections and 184 questions. The process of the remote pharmacy inspection follows the procedure of an on-site pharmacy inspection. In the internal test, the process of the remote inspection was found to be a good way to inspect pharmacies remotely. The remote inspection process is a new way to inspect pharmacies. With the remote inspection, it is possible to find out the most common defects on the pharmacy operations by using the questionnaire and contact calls. The remote inspection questionnaire and the process need to be further tested to ensure that the process is optimal from the perspective of the authority and the pharmacies.
  • Mäkinen, Emilia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Background and objectives: Documenting and processing of dispensing errors at both organizational and national levels is one of the basic preconditions for effective medication risk management. Since the most recently accomplished national register research of dispensing errors in Finland, there have been several changes in the medication dispensing process that advance medication safety. Thus, the previous study does not provide an up-to-date picture of the current situation. The primary objective of this study was to find out the trends in dispensing errors that were reported to the Finnish Pharmacy Association's registry of dispensing errors in 2015–2019. The secondary objective was to identify risk factors expository to dispensing errors in the dispensing process and to review the measures utilized by community pharmacies to prevent dispensing errors. Materials and methods: The retrospective registry study, in which the register of dispensing errors maintained by the Finnish Association of Pharmacists for the period from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2019, was analyzed. Cases that did not fulfil the definition of a dispensing error (n=829) were removed from the original data (n=17763). In addition, clear errors (n=2130) were corrected in the data and cases (n=499) that were initially insufficiently entered in the register were added. 17433 dispensing errors were included in the study. The data was analyzed using Microsoft Excel. The number, qualities, prescription types, observers, therapeutic harms and contributory factors of the dispensing errors were investigated in the data. The most common groups of medicinal substance, high-alert medications and risk factors in the medication dispensing process were identified in the data. In addition, interventions reported by community pharmacies to prevent dispensing errors were collected from the data. Results: The number of cases reported to the dispensing error register has decreased annually (2015 n=3913, 2016 n=3795, 2017 n=3708, 2018 n=3578, 2019 n=2439). The most common types of dispensing errors are incorrect strength (51 % of all the reported dispensing errors) and incorrect quantity or package size (14 %). Slightly more than a half (51 %) of the reported dispensing errors were noticed by medicine users. The percentage of electronic prescriptions in dispensing errors has increased and is clearly the most common prescription type in dispensing errors (2015: 79 %, 2016: 84 %, 2017: 93 %, 2018: 96 %, 2019: 95 %). The majority of dispensing errors occurred with cardiovascular medicines (29 %) and medicines affecting the nervous system (26 %). 7 % of dispensing errors caused therapeutic harm to the medicine user. As a result of dispensing errors, 21 medicine users were hospitalized. 13 % of dispensing errors occurred with high-alert medications (n=2244). The high-alert medications were involved in one-third (n=7) of dispensing errors that led to hospitalization. Factors related to the employee (25 %), similar packaging (19 %), and similar medicine name (15%) were most commonly considered to be the main contributory factors for the occurrence of the dispensing errors. The risk factors identified in the medicine dispensing process were related to the pharmacy system, the characteristics of the prescription, the storage method of the medicine and the characteristics of the medicine packaging. In the automated dose dispensing process, the risk of dispensing error increased if changes had to be made to the dose dispensing order. The risk factors for automated dose dispensing were related to the pharmacy system and the characteristics of the prescription. The community pharmacies had mentioned taking measures to prevent dispensing errors in one-fifth (21 %) of the reported cases. In addition to developing their own operations, community pharmacies saw cooperation with other healthcare professionals as an important factor in preventing medication errors. In addition, community pharmacies reported exposing properties for dispensing errors of pharmaceutical products and systems to pharmaceutical companies and providers of pharmacy systems and automated dose dispensing. Conclusions: Trends, risk factors of the dispensing process and interventions to prevent dispensing errors can be identified in the dispensing errors reported to the Finnish Association of Pharmacists’ dispensing error registry. The dispensing error register provides valuable information on dispensing errors at the national level, but it is no longer able to fulfil completely the current medication safety needs. In the future, the role of the pharmacy as a promoter of medication safety should be perceived as more comprehensive. In the development of medication safety, special attention should be paid to the risk factors of the dispensing process, the high-alert medications and to new risks arising from the increase of electronic prescriptions and automated dose dispensing. In addition, cooperation between pharmacies and other healthcare professionals and the medication safety culture of pharmacies should be further strengthened.
  • Vilhunen, Noora (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Pharmacy compounding involves the preparation of customized medications that are not commercially available for individual patients with specialized medical needs. The compounded preparations have many special features, such as the rapid/immediate need for the drug, the preparation of several pharmaceutical dosage forms, and the variation of batch sizes and manufacturing processes. Medicinal products prepared in hospital pharmacies may pose additional risks to patients compared to industrial products. These risks with limited evidence of quality, efficacy and microbiological purity can jeopardize patient safety. The aim of this study was to perform a product specific risk assessment of aseptically processed and terminally sterilized products belonging to the manufacturing range of the hospital pharmacy of Turku University Central Hospital. The study material contained 118 different products. The risk assessment was performed with the help of a risk matrix in which various quality and safety risks have been identified and assessed. The risk points obtained from the different areas of risks were multiplied together to obtain total risk points for each product. The products were qualitatively classified according to the total risk points into low-risk, medium-risk and high-risk products. All total parenteral nutrition (TPN) solutions of the study were classified as high-risk products. TPN solution prepared into a syringe without lipids and TPN solution prepared into an EVA bag without lipids had the highest risk points of the study (6561 points). Most of the eye drops (88 %) and patient controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps (68%) belonged to high-risk category. PCA pump containing morphine, clonidine, bupivacaine, ketamine and saline solution (1944 points) and autologous serum eye drops (1296 points) had the highest risk points of these product types. 60 percent of intraocular injections and half of pain products prepared into syringes were scored as high-risk products. Intravitreal bevacizumab had the highest risk points of intraocular injections (972 points). Medium-risk products were mainly different infusions. Infusions containing defibrotide, oxytocin and onasemnogene abeparvovec had the highest risk points in the medium-risk category. Liquid solutions and patient controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps were the second largest group in this category. All products used in allergy testing, all ointments and all inhalation solutions were in the low-risk category. The risk matrix used in the study can be used to identify high-risk compounded preparations in hospital pharmacies. Risk assessment enables targeting quality assurance more effectively to high-risk products. Risk assessment can be used to manage various risks in pharmaceutical compounding and reduce harm to patients. The results obtained in the study cannot be directly generalized to other hospital pharmacies because the products, manufacturing processes and the amounts of different products prepared vary among hospital pharmacies.
  • Falck, Jenni (Helsingfors universitet, 2019)
    Biological medicines are gaining ground in drug therapy. However, biological medicines are considerably expensive. Top ten drugs that caused the most drug reimbursement expenses included six biological drugs in Finland in 2017. A biosimilar is a biological medicine which is highly similar to another biological medicine (the reference medicine) that has already approved. Biosimilar prices are cheaper than the original medicines because their clinical development program does not have to be as extensive. A wide use of biosimilars save costs for both the patient and society without changing the effectiveness of drug therapy. The aim of this study is to investigate the automatic substitution of biological drugs containing the same active ingredient, especially from the point of view of medication safety. The study was conducted as a systematic literature review. Literature search was carried out by using Pubmed and Scopus databases. The literature was also searched manually from references of the articles and from the industry experts. The literature search produced a total of 454 articles after the deletion of duplicates. A title, abstract and full text screening was conducted by two independent researchers. All in all, 65 articles met the inclusion criteria of the study. As no studies were found on the automatic substitution of biological medicines from the point of view of medication safety, it was decided to include in the study original studies investigating the substitution of biological drugs from the point of view of doctors (n=8), pharmacists (n=3), patients (n=1) and various stakeholders (n=2). The original studies were all surveys except one study. In addition, the review included statements of various medical associations and organizations (n=23), descriptive reviews (n=27), and expert views (n=2) on the automatic substitution of biological drugs. According to the results of the original studies (n=13), it can be stated that automatic substitution is not considered generally acceptable. Doctors consider it is very important that the pharmacist informs them if substitution occurs. They also think it’s critical that doctors should be able to prevent substitution. Patients are also sceptical about the substitution of biological drugs. The quality of the original studies was assessed by the generalizability of the research results. The generalizability of the results of the original studies is weak due to the methodological shortcomings of the studies. Although the automatic substitution of biological drugs is legal in some countries, such as in France and in Australia, it has not been studied from the point of view of medication safety. In order to be safe to implement automatic substitution of biological medicines, more should be investigated on the subject. From the point of view of medication safety, healthcare professionals and patients will need further target group education on biosimilars. In addition, it should be clarified what kind of education the healthcare professionals and patients would need if the automatic substitution of biological medicines was to be realized.
  • Mäkinen, Arttu (Helsingfors universitet, 2018)
    This is a systematic review aiming to investigate the efficacy, effectiveness, and safety of biosimilars in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases. Biosimilar drugs used to treat inflammatory bowel diseases include biosimilar infliximab and biosimilar adalimumab. Biosimilar infliximab has been authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in 2013 and by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2016. Biosimilar adalimumab has been authorized by EMA and FDA in 2017 and, at the time the literary search for this systematic review was conducted no studies were found regarding the treatment of adalimumab biosimilar for inflammatory bowel diseases. To acquire marketing authorization for biosimilars, it must be proven that the biosimilar is biologically similar to the original medicinal product. Bioequivalence is demonstrated through physicochemical trials and clinical trials. However, clinical trials do not have to be performed with all of the indications for which the original medical product is registered. After proving bioequivalence with one or more indication it is possible to extrapolate the biosimilar to be used in all of the original medical products indications. This has raised the question of whether biosimilars are really comparable to the originator in indications for which no clinical trials have been conducted. This systematic review was implemented using the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews and Interventions. Systematic literature searches were made in Cochrane, Medline (Ovid®), PubMed and Scopus databases on 12.05.2017. 14 observational studies, one systematic review and a randomized clinical trial that met the inclusion criteria were included in the systematic review. The quality of the publications was evaluated using the STROBE-, NOS- and CONSORT-checklists and information regarding the efficacy, effectiveness and safety of biosimilars was extracted. CD-patients receiving tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitors for the first time, the clinical response was achieved in 50.0 % to 97.2 % of patients depending on patient population and the duration of treatment. Similarly, for UC-patients, the clinical response was achieved in 62.2 % to 100.0 %. The clinical remission was achieved among 28.9 % to 84.4 % of CD-patients and among 28.9 % to 84.4 % of UC-patients, depending on patient population and treatment follow-up. After the switch from original infliximab to biosimilar, the proportion of patients in clinical remission during follow-up ranged from 62.3 % to 100.0 % in CD-patients and from 45.5 % to 100.0 % in UC-patients. Clinical remission was sustained throughout the whole follow-up in 70 % to 100 % of CD-patients and 66.7 % to 92.0 % of UC-patients. The incidence of adverse events leading to the discontinuation of drug treatment was between 0.0 % and 25.0 %, and the incidence of all adverse events ranged from 0.0 % to 93.6 % in CD- and UC-patients. Biosimilar infliximab seems to be comparable to the original product regarding the efficacy, effectiveness and safety. This result is supported by the systematic literature review published earlier. Conducting a meta-analysis of the information contained in this systematic literature review could have led to a more final decision considering efficacy, effectiveness and safety of biosimilar-infliximab in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases.
  • Luukkanen, Saana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Pharmaceutical costs have been rising globally every year. A significant portion of drug costs is caused by biological drugs, which are often very expensive, yet essential in the treatment of many chronic diseases. Biosimilars are clinically equivalent to biological originator products and are expected to alleviate the increase in drug costs. The biosimilar development process does not need to repeat the complete development process of the originator product, allowing the biosimilar to enter the market at a lower price than the originator after the patent and data protection period for the originator ends. The aim of this study was to find out what impact the market entry of biosimilars has on the prices of the reference products in outpatient care in Finland, and to investigate whether biosimilars create price competition for biological drugs. In addition, the study examined how the prices and market shares of outpatient biosimilars have developed in Finland. The study examined the development of price and market shares for adalimumab, etanercept, insulin glargine, insulin lispro, enoxaparin, filgrastim, pegfilgrastim, somatropin, follitropin alfa, teriparatide and epoetin biosimilars and their reference products. The data for the study was acquired from IQVIA and it covered pharmacy wholesale data between 1.1.2009–31.8.2020 for products under investigation. The weighted average wholesale price and monthly wholesale amounts were determined for each product, and the development of the price and market shares were analyzed. In addition, a linear segmented regression analysis was performed to examine the impacts of market entry of biosimilars on the prices of the reference products. According to the study, the prices of the reference products mainly decreased after the biosimilar entered the market. If the price of the reference product did not fall, it lost its reimbursement under the Health Insurance Act. The market shares of the reference products were marginal when they were no longer reimbursed. The prices of biosimilars did not change as much as the prices of reference products, and for most active substances biosimilar prices remained stable or decreased. The use of biosimilars varies widely between different biologics. The study found that prices of reference products were decreasing mainly as a result of various changes in drug policies. Therefore, biosimilars were not seen to generate genuine price competition between biological products. In many of the drug groups examined, the market shares of biosimilars had future growth potential.
  • Backman, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Theoretical framework: The consolidated pharmaceutical market is becoming increasingly global and the same international pharmaceutical companies operate around the world in different countries, responsible for drug development and production. The high costs of developing novel medicines and the motive for higher profits has led to elevating price level of pharmaceuticals and health care services. Finland and the U.S. offer two extremes at the pharmaceutical market. The pharmaceutical market field in Finland is very structural and rigid, and medicine prices are regulated by law. In the U.S. the prices are based on the laws of supply and demand and the prices differ by different states, retailers and insurance policies. A small-scale longitudal price comparison is also reviewed to showcase the effect of continuously rising medicine prices. Study objective: The idea of this study is to describe and compare pricing mechanisms of pharmaceuticals and price differences between two very different market structures and review how these might affect the cost-effectiveness of national health care spending. These divergences are also mirrored to survey recent global pharmaceutical market problems such as drug shortages, possibly due to less appealing markets of higher price regulation policies. Materials and methods: Price data were collected from national, official, open-source databases. National health care expenditure and comparison to GDP was collected from publications by the OECD. All monetary values have been presented in both currencies (EUR and USD) to present more comparable values. Results: When compared to other OECD-countries the U.S. spent distinctly the largest amount of funds on health care per capita. Finland’s national health care costs were thousand times minor in total spending and less than a half per capita when compared to those of the U.S. With lower expenditure Finland manages to offer access to public, government-funded health insurance program. Meanwhile the prices of prescription medicines in Finland have decreased significantly, the prices for have continuously elevated in the U.S. Conclusions: The outcome of this study is that free markets and a complex supply chain, compared to more regulated markets with more transparency, have higher overall price level in pharmaceuticals and health care services. Free markets and sufficient intellectual property rights are more enticing to pharmaceutical companies. They promote new innovations and developing of much-needed novel therapies to modern health problems, such as AIDS and the global threat of worsening situation of antibiotic resistance. More regulated markets may create problems such as drug shortages and are often considered complex and less appealing market systems due to high level of administrative work but conserve the cost-effectiveness of the use of public funds.
  • Vainio, Sanna (Helsingfors universitet, 2019)
    Despite the long history of skin grafting, there is no standardized treatment for split-thickness skin graft donor sites. These sites cause a notable amount of pain and discomfort to the patients and open wounds also introduce a risk for infection. There is an extensive need for treatment options promoting the fastest and least painful healing possible while also being infection-free. The treatment of split-thickness skin graft donor sites is constantly studied and there is plenty of scientific literature available about this topic. In the theory section of this Master’s thesis, the structure of skin, the process of wound healing, skin grafting surgery and wound care products for split-thickness skin graft donor sites are briefly introduced. Additionally, the method of systematic review is described. In the empirical section, a systematic review is performed to compare animal- and non-animal-based wound care products in the treatment of split skin graft donor sites. The methodological quality of the included studies is reviewed. In the literature search, 3552 references were found. In this systematic review a total of 23 articles were included comprising of 21 comparative clinical studies and two previous literature reviews. Of the original studies, 20 reviewed healing, 14 infection and 17 pain of the split-thickness skin graft donor sites. Based on the results of the systematic review, animal-based wound care products might promote healing and reduce pain experienced by patients in the treatment of split-thickness skin graft donor sites when compared with non-animal-based wound care products. The results concerning infection were inconsistent. Generally, the reporting of the clinical original studies was not comprehensive enough for proper evaluation of methodological quality. Some defects, mostly in the blinding of the patients, study personnel and the assessors of outcomes, were also found. Moreover, the studies were heterogeneous in their definitions and measuring of the reported outcomes. Therefore, there is substantial uncertainty in the results of this systematic review. The systematic and transparent way of conducting the literature search, the review of the methodological quality and the reporting of the outcomes can be considered as a strength of this thesis. The main weakness is, that only one person performed the critical steps of this study, which might increase the risk of bias and reduce the repeatability of the study.
  • Rissanen, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Lääkevaihto ja sitä täydentävä viitehintajärjestelmä ovat laskeneet lääkekustannuksia Suomessa. Epilepsialääkkeet eivät ole aiemmin kuuluneet lääkevaihdon piiriin, sillä epilepsian hoidossa eri valmisteet eivät välttämättä ole terapeuttisesti tarpeeksi samanarvoisia, ja pienikin muutos hoitotasapainossa voi altistaa epilepsiakohtauksille. Nykyisin epilepsialääkkeitä käytetään kuitenkin usein muihinkin käyttöaiheisiin, kuten psykiatrisiin sairauksiin ja kivun hoitoon. Vuonna 2017 lääkekorvausjärjestelmään tehtiin säästötoimenpiteitä, joiden yhteydessä epilepsialääkkeet sisällytettiin lääkevaihdon piiriin muissa käyttöaiheissa kuin epilepsian hoidossa. Lisäksi otettiin käyttöön poikkeava viitehintaryhmä, joka koski epilepsialääkkeistä pregabaliinia neuropaattisen kivun käyttöaiheessa. Tutkimuksen tavoitteena oli tarkastella epilepsialääkkeiden (pregabaliinin, gabapentiinin, topiramaatin, lamotrigiinin ja valproiinihapon) vaihtamista sekä hintojen kehitystä lääkevaihtoon ja viitehintajärjestelmään sisällyttämisen jälkeen vuoden 2017 alusta vuoden 2019 puoliväliin. Lisäksi tarkasteltiin näiden lääkeaineiden kustannusten, korvausmenojen sekä käyttäjä- ja reseptimäärien kehitystä. Aineistona käytettiin Kansaneläkelaitoksen reseptirekisteriin pohjautuvia tilastoja epilepsialääkkeiden lääkeostoista sekä lääkkeiden hintalautakunnan päätöksiä epilepsialääkkeiden viitehintaryhmistä ja viitehinnoista. Epilepsialääkkeiden vaihtaminen yleistyi tarkastelujakson aikana kaikilla lääkevaihdon piirissä olleilla viidellä lääkeaineella, ja vaihtokieltojen osuus resepteistä laski useimmilla lääkeaineista. Viitehinnat laskivat useimmissa tarkastelluista viitehintaryhmistä, mutta lähes yhtä usein viitehinta ei muuttunut. Viitehinnat laskivat enemmän viitehintaryhmissä, joissa oli useampia vaihtokelpoisia valmisteita. Lääkevaihdon ensimmäisenä vuonna 2017 lääkevaihtoon kuuluvien epilepsialääkkeiden kustannukset ja korvausmenot pääosin laskivat, vaikka lääkkeiden käyttö ei vähentynyt. Lääkevaihdon toisena vuonna kustannukset eivät juuri laskeneet. Pregabaliinin poikkeavan viitehintaryhmän vuoksi vaihtamatta jääneet reseptit aiheuttivat merkittävän osan lääkevaihtoon kuuluvien epilepsialääkkeiden kustannuksista. Pregabaliinille jäi siten todennäköisesti yhä säästöpotentiaalia poikkeavan viitehintaryhmän voimassaolon päätyttyä vuoden 2019 heinäkuussa, mitä on syytä tarkastella jatkotutkimuksissa.
  • Peltoniemi, Jonne (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Erenumab (Aimovig®) is a first-in-class calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitor approved for the preventive treatment of migraine by the FDA in May 2018 and by European Commission (EC) in July 2018. It is a human monoclonal antibody (mAb) binding to the CGRP receptor, antagonizing the effect of CGRP. The marketing authorization of Aimovig® was based on two phase II and two phase III clinical trials. In all trials, erenumab with doses 70 mg/mL and 140 mg/mL was found to have a significantly superior effect compared to placebo, with a similar safety profile between all groups. These conclusions are mainly in line with studies conducted post marketing authorization. However, questions about the optimal dose, and the frequency and types of adverse events in larger patient populations remain to be studied. A European Public Assessment Report (EPAR) and Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) are required by the European Commission for each human medicine with a marketing authorization within the European Union. The SmPC is produced by the applicant and it should contain all relevant information of the medicinal product as distilled during the assessment process. The SmPC can thus be viewed as a kind of summarized version of the EPAR. The aim of this study was to investigate the post-marketing efficacy and safety information of erenumab from three perspectives: 1) the EPAR was compared with recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses assessing the efficacy and safety of erenumab, 2) all existing literature on the efficacy and safety of erenumab on different subgroups of migraine patients was assessed and summarized, and 3) the efficacy and safety information of the EPAR was compared to those of the SmPC, to resolve whether important information is missing. This review found several points regarding the efficacy and safety of erenumab. First, the status of erenumab was further established as a safe and effective treatment for the prevention of migraine. Second, meta-analyses (n=3) with more extensive cohorts compared to those of the EPAR and SmPC, present a further case for the superiority of the 140 mg dose compared to the 70 mg dose. The difference in dose effect is addressed in the EPAR but its assessment may be based on limited information. Third, different subgroups seem to respond differently to erenumab treatment. This aspect should be further investigated by head-to-head studies. Lastly, the safety information of the SmPC seems insufficient due to lack of mention of upper respiratory infections. This adverse event was among the most common in all of the four clinical trials and has since been observed in a real-world study. Based on these findings, neither the EPAR nor the SmPC of erenumab seem to be fully up to date and information related to the dose and upper respiratory infections as a risk should be reconsidered.
  • Jalonen, Milla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    There are significant inter-individual differences in the effects of drugs. These differences can be caused by, for example, other diseases, adherence to treatment, or drug-drug interactions. A drug-drug interaction can lead to an increase in the concentration of the active substance in the circulation (pharmacokinetic interactions) or a change in the effect of the drug without changes in plasma concentration (pharmacodynamic interactions). A drug-drug interaction can change the efficacy of a drug or affect the adverse drug reaction profile. The individual’s genetic background, such as diversity in drug-modifying enzymes (polymorphism), also has an effect on the efficacy and the risk for adverse drug reactions of some drugs. A pharmacogenetic test can be used to study how genetic factors affect drug treatments. The aim of this master's thesis was to examine the possibilities of personalized migraine pharmacotherapy from the perspective of pharmacogenomics and drug-drug interactions. Four online drug-drug interaction databases available in Finland were compared. Inxbase is the most widely used interaction database by physicians in Finland and it is also integrated into Finnish pharmacy systems. Other databases used in this study were the international professional database Micromedex as well as Medscape Drug Interaction Checker and Drugs.com Drug Interactions Checker. The latter two are open-access databases available for healthcare professionals and patients. Interaction searches were conducted in the selected databases between acute and prophylactic drugs used for the treatment of migraine (e.g. bisoprolol-sumatriptan). Fourteen acute and 12 prophylactic drugs were selected for this study based on the Current Care Guidelines in Finland (Käypä hoito), and the data were collected in Excel spreadsheets. The first search was completed in December 2019 and the second search in March 2020. In this study, many potential interactions were found between acute and prophylactic drugs used to treat migraine in Finland. For more than half of the drug pairs studied, a potential interaction was found in at least one of the databases. There were significant differences between the interaction databases regarding which interactions the database contains and how the severity of the interactions was classified. Of the interactions found, only 45% were found in all four databases, and each database contained interactions that were not found in the other databases. Even very serious interactions or drug pairs classified as contraindicated were not found to be consistently presented across all four databases. When selecting drug treatment for a migraine patient, potential drug-drug interactions between acute and prophylactic drugs as well as the patient's genetic background should be considered. Individualizing migraine treatment to achieve the best efficacy and to reduce the risk for adverse drug reactions is important because migraine as a disease causes a heavy burden on individuals, healthcare, and society. Pharmacogenetic tests particularly developed to help choosing migraine treatment are not yet available, but tests are available for few other indications in both public and private healthcare. The use of these tests in clinical practice will increase as physicians’ pharmacogenetic knowledge and scientific evidence on pharmacogenetic tests increase. Utilization of pharmacogenetic data requires that test results are stored in electronic health records so that they are available in the future, when changes are made to drug treatment of individuals. More studies are warranted to better understand the clinical impact of pharmacogenomics and drug-drug interactions in migraine care.
  • Muurman, Tuulikki (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Background: Poor health literacy (HL) is associated to increased hospitalization and decreased seeking for screenings. Shared decision making can increase patient knowledge, decrease anxiety over the care process, improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs. Little is known about factors influencing health literacy and participation in treatment decision making in different population groups. Objectives: To investigate factors predicting HL and participation in the treatment decision making. Methods: A cross-sectional population online survey conducted in Finland in 2019 by Finnish Medicines Agency. Both health literacy and participation in the decision making were assessed by three statements that sum variables were created with score 1-5 (Cronbach’s alpha value 0.584 and 0.810). Age, gender, education, household income and most common chronic diseases were chosen as possible predicting factors. Two-variable Pearson’s chi-squared test was first used to find significant factors followed by logistic regression analysis to take into account several variables. Results: Of all the respondents (n=2104) 76.5% had good HL and 73.4% had willingness to participate in the treatment decision making. In the two-variable test older age (p<0.001), lower education (p<0.001), lower household income (p=0.001), higher number of chronic diseases (p=0.003), having cardiovascular diseases (p=0.003), diabetes (p=0.029) and cancer (p=0.001) predicted poorer health literacy. Male gender (p=0.001), not having chronic diseases (p=0.001), not having a musculoskeletal disorder (p=0.050) or mental health disorders (p<0.001) predicted poorer participation in the treatment decision making. In the logistic regression analysis older age and having cancer predicted poorer health literacy. Male gender and not having mental health disorders predicted less willingness to participate in the decision making. Conclusions: Older age and cancer predicts poorer health literacy and male gender poorer willingness to participate in the decision making. Further research should focus on investigating more in detail the contributing factors to these findings, and how health literacy in elderly and men’s involvement to the decision making could be improved.
  • Valve, Kiia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Background and objectives: Pharmaceutical services provided by community pharmacies have the potential to improve medication safety and support the implementation of rational pharmacotherapy. The pharmaceutical services are internationally an underused resource to support functioning of social and health care services. The literature review of this Master’s thesis provides an overview of pharmaceutical services, - their funding and remuneration. The primary objective of the empirical study was to create an overview of the development of the pharmaceutical services in Finnish community pharmacies in 2010-2020. The secondary objective was to study differences in the service provision between Finnish provinces. Materials and methods: The study was carried out as a retrospective descriptive survey study annually conducted by the Association of Finnish Pharmacies. Åland was excluded from the provincial review so that individual pharmacies could not be identified. The data was analyzed using Microsoft Excel. The number of pharmacies providing pharmaceutical services annually and the annual number of customers using these services were counted at the national level. At the provincial level, the corresponding data for the prescribing review, medication review, comprehensive medication review and assessment of inhalation technique were analyzed for the years 2017-2020. Results and conclusions: The most common service with the highest number of customers was automated dose dispensing. The second most common service was prescription review. As a whole, the provision of services and the number of customers had increased during the study period in Finnish community pharmacies. Manual dose dispensing was a diminishing service. Differences were found between provinces in the prevalence of services and in the number of customers. It was possible to identify provinces with lower service provision activity, such as Lapland. The service provision prevalence and number of customers varied widely within provinces. The number of customers for a certain service in an individual pharmacy had a large effect on the provincial average, thus, the average number of customers in the provinces does not reflect the provinces' success in implementation of services. Pharmaceutical services, with the exception of the automated dose dispensing, are not well implemented.
  • Korhonen, Juha (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Traditionally pharmacists’ activities have focused on the manufacturing and compounding of medicinal products. The production of medicines has shifted from pharmacies to industrial mass production since the 1960s, and correspondingly, the production of medicinal products by pharmacists in community pharmacies has declined and is now almost completely absent. It has been concluded that pharmacists are over-educated, and their skills are not fully utilized. Authorities and pharmacy organizations have expressed interest in pharmacists’ extended role, which includes patient care and cognitive services. Professional identity refers to the conscious understanding and awareness of oneself as a professional, which is based on an individual's life history: it is the relationship between the individual, work and profession, and its future. Professional identity has been seen to influence the performance of health workers, in terms of both competence and responsiveness. The purpose of this study is to describe pharmacists’ perceptions of their professional identity and its possible change from the beginning of 1990 to 2019. A systematized review was conducted in October 2019. Altogether 12 publications were selected in the systematized review. All the studies were qualitative. In eight studies, interviews were used as the research method. Two selected studies used a focus group discussion as the research method, and two studies used both interviews and focus group discussions. One study used interviews and focus group discussions as well as survey as research methods. From the basis of this study, no conclusion can be drawn that the professional identity of pharmacists has evolved from a product orientation towards a more patient-centered care provider. Because of the complex and dispersed nature of community pharmacy practices, and the many factors that are involved in them in different contexts, it is difficult to interpret and understand what the core function of a pharmacist is in a community pharmacy. Pharmacists could not describe their activities and their roles explicitly. The researchers concluded that pharmacists had not attained as clear and strong professional identity in their current occupation, as it had been in the past when drugs were still manufactured in the community pharmacy. Community pharmacists balanced between two conflicting roles as pharmacists and business managers. Pharmacists, patients, and politicians alike perceived community pharmacy as a business. This view is further supported by the context, the physical premises of the community pharmacy, which are generally more suitable for retail than patient care. This may represent a challenge for the implementation of pharmacists’ extended role.
  • Porru, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Medication-related errors have been identified as the single most important risk factor for patient safety across the world. According to previous research, medication errors are common in nursing homes. However, the existing data on medication errors in Finnish nursing homes is scarce, although the challenges and defects in nursing home care services, including drug treatments, are well known. Furthermore, nursing home residents are typically characterized by old age, multimorbidity and polypharmacy. Therefore, they are particularly vulnerable to potential adverse events caused by medication errors. The aim of this study was to investigate the rates and causes of medication errors reported in nursing homes and evaluate their impact on medication safety. Additionally, the proportions of potentially inappropriate medication (PIMs) and high-risk medication involved in the medication errors were determined. The data of the study consisted of 251 medication errors reports that were submitted to the safety incident report system (HaiPro) in nursing homes located in Central Uusimaa healthcare and social welfare joint municipal authority (Keusote) in 2019. Quantitative analysis of the data provided an overview of the medication errors that had occurred in nursing homes and the medicines most commonly involved in them. Content analysis and simplified root cause analysis enabled to study more in-depth the contributing factors of medication errors and potential risks associated with the medication process in nursing homes, as well as the possibilities of preventing similar errors in the future. James Reason's human error theory and in particular its system perspective was applied as a theoretical framework in this study. Medication errors were reported regularly in nursing homes during the follow-up period of the study. The most frequent medication error type was administration error. The majority of these errors were medication omissions, followed by the wrong time of administration and administration to the wrong patient. The most common drug classes causing medication errors were antithrombotics, opioids, antidementia drugs, diuretics, antipsychotics, antidiabetics, and antidepressants. Nearly a quarter of the reported medicines were high-risk medications, most commonly opioids, antithrombotics, or antidiabetic drugs. PIMs accounted for approximately 13% of all medications in the data. Errors were most often caused by unsafe medication practices, communication problems, and deficiencies in the work environment such as excessive workload or time pressure. A significant part of the medication errors were related to transdermal medication patches. The study also showed that the quality of medication error reporting in nursing homes is in part insufficient and should be improved so that the reports can be better used for learning purposes. The results of the study provide valuable additional information on medication errors in Finnish nursing homes and their contributing factors. The information can be used to improve medication safety practices in nursing homes. Safe and uninterrupted medication use process is a goal that should be pursued not only in health care but also in social welfare services such as nursing homes.
  • Wikman, Essi (Helsingfors universitet, 2019)
    Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacterium that causes invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) such as bacteraemia and meningitis, and pneumonia. The prevalence of pneumococcal diseases is high in infants and in ≥65-year-olds. Also, the incidence of pneumococcal disease is higher in medical risk groups compared to the base population. Pneumococcal diseases can be prevented by vaccinations and since 2010 pneumococcal vaccine PCV10 has been in the national vaccination programme for infants in Finland. The aim for this study is to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of pneumococcal vaccinations in national vaccination programme for the 65-year-olds in medical risk groups (diabetes, chronic coronary artery disease, asthma and COPD). Secondary aim is to examine uncertainty factors that are related to economic evaluations of pneumococcal vaccinations in the elderly. Cost-utility analysis was used as the economic evaluation method. It is a method where health gains are measured by quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). Static multicohort model was chosen for the modelling. Some of the used parameters were acquired from the literature and most of the epidemiology and cost parameters were acquired from research reports and articles published by National Institute for Health and Welfare. Analyses were made for both pneumococcal vaccines that are registered for adults (PCV13 and PPV23) and in 2 different scenarios: Finland’s present situation where PCV10 is in the vaccination programme for infants (scenario A), and hypothetical situation where PCV13 would be in the vaccination programme for infants (scenario B). Based on the analysis, when PCV10 was in the vaccination programme for infants (scenario A), vaccinating 65-year-olds in medical risk groups was cost saving intervention in the health care perspective for both vaccines in chronic coronary artery disease and asthma and COPD risk groups. In diabetes risk group the costs per QALY’s gained were 2 100 € in scenario A. When PCV13 was in the vaccination programme for infants (scenario B), costs per QALY’s gained for PCV13 vaccinations were: diabetes 52 400 €, chronic coronary artery disease 35 900 € and asthma and COPD 22 000 €. The uncertainty of results was tested with deterministic and probabilistic sensitive analysis. In scenario B the results were sensitive for the waning of the PCV13 produced immune protection, the price of the vaccine, the proportion of pneumonia caused by S. pneumoniae, the changes in the pneumococcal disease incidences and the effect that pneumonia has for the health related quality of life. The cost-effectiveness of vaccinating 65-year-olds with pneumococcal vaccines was different depending on the risk group and on which pneumococcal vaccine is in the vaccination programme for infants. In addition, there are several uncertainty factors that have an impact on the results of economic evaluation of pneumococcal vaccinations.
  • Rossi, Vilma (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Background: Inhaled therapy is the most widely used treatment for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Inhaled medicinal product has several advantages, including high local drug concentration in the lungs and reduced systemic adverse effects. However, the challenge with inhaled therapy is that many asthma and COPD patients do not know how to use their inhaler properly. Suboptimal inhaler use can lead to poor clinical control. The Association of Finnish Pharmacies has developed inhalation technique assessment service (ITAS) to detect and correct patients’ inhalation technique and to give information regarding the inhaler and inhaled therapy, such as drug storage and oral care. Objective: The aim of the study is to investigate whether asthma and COPD patients’ ability to prepare the Respimat inhaler and the patients’ ability to properly inhale the drug improve after receiving ITAS. The second objective is to find out what patients and pharmacists think about the service and which customer groups benefit the most from the service. Methods: The study design is an uncontrolled pre-post intervention. 33 pharmacies participated in the study. All patients who were buying a prescribed Respimat inhaler, were offered to participate in the study. Patients’ inhalation technique was assessed before (baseline) and immediately after ITAS (follow up 1). In addition, the inhalation technique was assessed the next time the patient came to pharmacy to buy Respimat inhaler (follow-up 2). Questionnaires were used to assess patients’ and pharmacists’ perceptions of ITAS. Results: 228 baseline and follow-up ITAS were performed. The results of follow-up 2 will be published later in a separate article. 14 % of the patients performed all the steps (both inhaler preparation before first inhalation and inhalation process itself) correctly at baseline. After ITAS the number increased to 77 %. At baseline 30 % of the patients had an optimal inhalation technique (all inhalation steps correct) and after ITAS the number increased to 85 %. 70 % of the patients had an acceptable technique (all critical steps correct) before and 93 % after ITAS. Both patients and pharmacists felt that the service was beneficial to the patients when thinking the proper inhaler preparation and proper inhalation technique. Overall patients’ and pharmacists’ satisfaction were high towards ITAS. Our study indicates that patients benefit from ITAS regardless of patient’s age or how long the patient have been using the Respimat inhaler. Conclusions: A pharmacist-led inhalation technique assessment service significantly improves asthma and COPD patients’ inhalation technique with Respimat inhaler. ITAS should be performed regularly as part of the delivery of the inhaled drug to the patient. Further research is needed on the effectiveness of ITAS with other inhalers.