Drug Consumption in Norway 2017–2021, data from Wholesale statistics and Norwegian Prescription Database
This year’s report Drug consumption in Norway includes data and information from two sources, Norwegian Drug Wholesale Statistics and the Norwegian Prescription Database (NorPD), for the period 2017-2021. Together, these sources provide a complementary picture of drug sales and consumption in Norway
This year’s report Drug consumption in Norway includes data and information from two sources, Norwegian Drug Wholesale Statistics and the Norwegian Prescription Database (NorPD), for the period 2017-2021. Together, these sources provide a complementary picture of drug sales and consumption in Norway. Closer analysis of drug consumption in relation to the corona pandemic has not been conducted, but in some instances, it has been commented upon in the report.
Norwegian Drug Wholesale Statistics
- In 2021, drugs for human use were sold worth a total of NOK 22.8 billion (pharmacy purchase price (AIP)), an increase of 8.1 % from the previous year (Table 3.1). Over time, there has been a steady increase in sales measured in defined daily doses (DDD). In 2021, the number of DDDs was 4% higher than the previous year. The sale includes medicines with and without marketing authorisation in Norway. Non-prescription drugs accounted for around 9% of total sales measured in DDD. The sales of veterinary medicines were NOK 1.7 billion.
- Figure 3.1 shows the development in total sales of drugs for human use in the period 2001 to 2021 in NOK (AIP) and DDD. Over time, the increase in cost has been higher than the increase in volume, measured in DDD. Many antineoplastic and immunomodulating agents do not have DDD. Increased prices as well as the introduction of new and more expensive drugs have affected the increase in cost. Costs will also be affected by exchange rates. Population growth and an increased proportion of older people also contribute to increased drug consumption.
- Antineoplastic and immunomodulatory agents (ATC group L) had the highest turnover in NOK and accounted for 25% of costs for human medicines in 2021 (Table 3.1). The group includes expensive drugs for the treatment of cancer as well as biological drugs for the treatment of, for example, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Norwegian Prescription Database (NorPD)
- Since the Norwegian Prescription Database was established in 2004, just over 6 million individuals have been included. The number of drugs dispensed according to prescriptions during this period is about 785 million.
- 98% of the medicines in the NorPD (measured in DDD) were dispensed to individuals in 2021. The remaining 2% was mainly dispensed to institutions. Of the Norwegian population, 71% were dispensed at least one drug in 2021 with 78% of them being women and 65% men (Table 3.4.1). The proportion (prevalence) was lowest in the age group 5–9 years for both genders and increases with age. In people over the age of 70, around 90% of the individuals were given a prescription drug (figure 3.4.1).
- The two drug groups most commonly used by both genders in 2021 are agents acting on the nervous system (ATC group N) and agents acting on the respiratory system (ATC group R). Table 3.4.2 shows prevalence for each of the 14 ATC main groups; including total and distribution between women and men.
- The total sale of antibiotics has been declining steadily for several years with a considerable reduction during the past two years. This is probably a consequence of fewer infections due to infection control measures during the corona pandemic.
The main tables in Part 4 contain data from both data sources. Data from NorPD include medicines on prescription to individuals indicated as number and proportion of users. The Norwegian Drug Wholesale Statistics also includes sales to hospitals, other health institutions and non-pharmacy outlets, mainly listed as DDD/1000 inhabitants/day. Not all medicines have an assigned DDD, here only data from NorPD are included with number and proportion of users.