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Wholesaler-based drug statistics

Wholesaler-based drug statistics cover all sales of drugs from wholesalers to pharmacies, hospitals/nursing homes and non-pharmacy outlets with permission to sell drugs.

Drugs for humans and animals, both on prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) are included in the statistics. Drug statistics based on sales from wholesalers have been available since the 1970s and give a total overview of long-term developments in drug consumption.

Purpose of the statistics

The aim of the wholesaler statistics is to map total drug consumption in Norway. 

The information can be used by researchers to study the drug’s area and by the health authorities in the main planning and control of supply of drugs. The statistics are justified in the Regulations concerning Drug Wholesale Activities and Business.

Collected information

  • Drug: product number, number of packs, price to wholesaler (GIP), price from wholesaler (AIP)
  • Customer number: wholesaler’s internal customer number, customer name and county. 
  • Grocery wholesalers: only report by county level. 
  • Pharmacy: licence number, county 
  • Wholesaler: licence number

Reporting is done electronically every month, with the exception of individual wholesalers who report once a year. 

Drug Consumption in Norway – annual publication

Data from the Wholesaler-based drug statistics are published annually in the publication ”Drug Consumption in Norway.” The first edition was released in 1977. Each issue covers a five year overview over total sales of OTC and prescription drugs in Norway. Sales are listed by active ingredient (ATC code) and are usually given as the number of defined daily doses (DDD) per 1000 inhabitants per day. Sales in Norwegian kroner are based on the estimated retail price (AUP) from the pharmacy/outlet and can be found per drug category (ATC, 3rd level). 

In addition to tabular data, the book contains comments on the total sales trends and for developments in the largest drug categories. Overviews are shown by county for a selection of drug categories. 

Summarised information on methods used in the presentation of the data (including ATC/DDD) can be found in the introductory chapter in the book. 

The book is available with both English and Norwegian text:

Extraction of data

Researchers can request extraction of more detailed data from the wholesaler-based drug statistics. The research project must be for an appropriate use in line with the stated purpose of the statistics.

Other statistics on drug consumption

The Norwegian Prescription Database (NorPD) contains information on drugs dispensed on prescription from all pharmacies in Norway. On the website you can make your own table based on a selection of information from the NorPD database.

You can also make your own diagrams from a selection of information on drug consumption from NorPD and Wholesaler-based drug statistics (Norwegian only).