VATT Day 2023: Choices in Healthcare

Public healthcare. Private healthcare service providers. Regulation. Consumer Choice. Pharmaceutical expenditure. Innovation.

Date: October 4 2023

Choices made healthcare and medical care have a major impact on public finances. In Finland, we spend over 20 billion a year on healthcare and the Finnish Social Insurance Institution (Kela) spends almost 2 billion a year on pharmaceutical reimbursements. The choices made also directly impact the welfare of individuals and their ability to work. By using research-based information, we can make better – more efficient and just – choices. 

At VATT Day 2023, we will be discussing the big choices to be made in healthcare: How to ensure the innovation of new medication while attempting to curb pharmaceutical reimbursement costs? What should be the roles of public healthcare and private healthcare service providers? Join us for keynote speeches by leading researchers in the field of health economics and new high-quality research using Finnish data by VATT’s researchers.




Opening words
Director general Mikael Collan

Regulating health care and pharmaceutical markets (in English)

Hosted by Professor Otto Toivanen, Aalto University

Financing innovation for antibiotics
Pierre Dubois, Professor of Economics, Toulouse School of Economics

Public-private mix in the provision of hospital services
Luigi Siciliani, Professor of Health Economics, University of York

14.15-14.45 Coffee break

14.45 Choices in healthcare from the perspective of individuals, society and public finance (in Finnish)

Chair: Mika Kortelainen, Professor in Health Economics (University of Turku), Research professor (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare) 

Prescription behavior of physicians in the public and private sector
Kaisa Kotakorpi, Professor in Economics (University of Tampere)

Consumer choice reform – better specialized care in public hospitals?
Tanja Saxell, Senior Researcher (VATT) 

Regulating pharmaceutical markets and pharmaceutical expenditure
Markku Siikanen, Senior Researcher (VATT)  

Comments by
Kirsi Varhila, Director of the Satakunta Wellbeing Services County (slides)
Lauri Pelkonen, Director the Pharmaceuticals Pricing Board (Hila) (slides)

15:50 Questions and comments from the audience

Regulating healthcare and pharmaceutical markets

The first keynote speech is given by Professor Pierre Dubois (Toulouse School of Economics), a leading researcher in the field of health economics. In his speech, he discusses financing innovation for antibiotics. Antimicrobial resistance and the scarcity of innovative antibiotics pose one the biggest threats to healthcare systems. To address the apparent market failure of standard incentives provided by patent rights, transferable vouchers have proposed as means of creating strong pull incentives. However, little is known on how to structure these “Transferable Exclusivity Extensions”, how they fare relative to prizes and who is likely to acquire them and at what cost for society, or how the burden is shared among nations. In his presentation, Dubois sheds light on these questions, both from a theoretical perspective and based on an empirical analysis on European data.

The second keynote speech is given by Professor Luigi Sicilliani (York University), who is a leading specialist in the economics of hospitals. In his speech, he addresses the role of private healthcare providers in publicly funded healthcare systems. The mix of public and private hospitals treating publicly insured patients varies greatly across European countries. In Finland, the general trend is that more and more publicly insured patients are being treated by private healthcare service providers. In his speech, Sicilliani discusses the role that private providers can play within publicly-funded health systems before and after COVID-19. Based on economic theory and empirical evidence, he examines differences between public and private hospitals in quality, efficiency, casemix and reimbursement systems. 

Choices in healthcare from the perspective of individuals, society and public finance

Professor Kaisa Kotakorpi (University of Tampere) will present results from a new study comparing the prescription behaviour of physicians working in the public and private sector. The researchers found significant differences in prescription behaviour, even the same physicians prescribe different medication when working in different sectors.

Senior researcher Tanja Saxell will present results from a new study investigating the allocative effects of a regional reform introducing consumer choice to elective surgery performed in public hospitals. The research shows that expanding consumer choice to specialized care in public hospitals can reduce waiting times and more patients are treated with little impact on clinical quality.

Senior researcher Markku Siikanen will present results from a new study examining the effectiveness of price regulation policies in curbing pharmaceutical expenditure. The study analyzes widely utilized generic substitution and reference price policies using data from the Nordic countries. The researchers find that regulation policies targeting consumers’ financial incentives can generate substantial savings with no adverse effects on pharmaceutical availability.

The presentations will commented by the Director of the Satakunta Wellbeing Services County, Kirsi Varhila (former undersecretary for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health) and Lauri Pelkonen the Director the Pharmaceuticals Pricing Board (Hila) at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

If you're interested in attending VATT day 2023, please contact our communication team ([email protected]).

For more information:
VATT's leading researcher Teemu Lyytikäinen ([email protected])
VATT's communications ([email protected])