Mandatory generic substitution (GS) was introduced in Finland on 1 April 2003. The aim of this study was to explore and compare the impacts of GS on the activities of pharmaceutical companies representing mainly original or generic pharmaceutical products in Finland. The self-reported impact of GS from pharmaceutical companies' perspective was explored with a focus on the number of employees, the range of sales packages on the market, the marketing activities, the research and development of new pharmaceutical products and storage of pharmaceuticals.
A cross-sectional postal survey was conducted among pharmaceutical companies with an office in Finland and substitutable medicines in the Finnish pharmaceutical market one year (2004) and five years (2008) after the introduction of GS. Completed questionnaires were returned by 16 original and 7 generic product companies in 2004 (response rate 56%, n = 41) and by 16 original and 6 generic product companies in 2008 (response rate 56%, n = 39). Descriptive statistical analyses were performed.
The number of employees (2004: n = 6/16, 2008: n = 7/16) and the amount of prescription medicine marketing (2004: n = 7/16, 2008: n = 8/16) decreased in many of the original product companies after the introduction of GS. GS resulted in problems related to the storage of pharmaceuticals in the original product companies shortly after GS was introduced (p = 0.032 between 2004 and 2008). In the generic product companies, the prescription medicine representatives' visits to pharmacies increased at the beginning of GS (p = 0.021 between 2004 and 2008). In addition, GS caused problems with the storage of pharmaceuticals one year and five years after the reform (2004: n = 4/7, 2008: n = 3/6). The differences between original and generic product companies regarding the impacts of GS were not, however, statistically significant. GS did not affect on the range of sales packages on the market or the research activities of the majority of companies.
The study suggests that GS has had impacts on the activities of pharmaceutical companies in Finland. There were also some differences, although not statistically significant, between the surveyed original and generic product companies regarding the self-reported impacts of GS. More investigations are needed in this field.
STUDY OBJECTIVE—Knowledge about changes in wellbeing during the passage from professional studies to working life is scarce and controversial. This study examined these changes among university graduates with good and poor employment prospects.
DESIGN—A longitudinal study with four postal questionnaire surveys of a closed cohort.
SETTING—Cohorts of graduating Finnish physicians and architects were followed up from 1994 to 1998. In 1994 Finland's national economy was still struggling to break loose from a period of severe recession, and unemployment rates were high even among educated professionals. As economic growth eventually got under way the unemployment situation began to ease for physicians but not for architects.
PARTICIPANTS—Architecture students (n = 189) from Finland's three technical universities and medical students (n = 638) from Finland's five medical faculties. Both had started their studies in 1989.
RESULTS—In the first questionnaire survey there were no differences between the professions in strain resistance resources, as indicated by Sense of Coherence (SOC), or in psychological distress, as indicated by General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). Profession emerged as a significant between subject factor in analysis of variance for repeated measures of both SOC and GHQ. Physicians' scores on the 13 item SOC questionnaire improved during the follow up from 62.6 to 67.5 and on the 12 item GHQ questionnaire from 24.2 to 22.2. Among architects the corresponding scores remained unchanged (62.5-62.2 and 23.1-22.6). The significance of profession remained unchanged when gender and individuals' graduation and total work experience were introduced to the statistical models as between subject factors.
CONCLUSIONS—Improved SOC in physicians but not in architects supports the hypothesis that good employment prospects are important to employee wellbeing. Although less consistent, indicating fluctuations in day to day psychological distress, GHQ findings are also in line with the hypothesis. In both professions the indicators studied were independent of individuals' graduation and career. It is concluded that rather than individually, the mechanisms that connect employment prospects with wellbeing operate collectively within the whole profession. Highly educated professionals do not complete their studies until almost 30, and if for reasons of insecure employment they are unable to develop their SOC to the optimum level at that age, their resources for resisting health endangering strain may remain permanently poor.
Keywords: university graduates; employment insecurity; sense of coherence; general health questionnaire
In light of possibilities and limitations of data from the Finnish population register, and the general demographic development of Finland, this paper illuminates the complex interrelation between internal migration and mortality. We explore the roles played by health selection, birth region, and migration as a potentially harmful event. A five per cent random sample from a longitudinal data file that contains deaths for a period of 24 years is used. The focus is on people aged 40–59 years living in Southern Finland, who are defined by birth region and time since immigration. We find some indications of a healthy-migrant effect, but also that migrants may have integration difficulties or that they are negatively selected with regard to health behaviours and lifestyles. In line with previous studies on Finland, birth region is found to be a very decisive mortality determinant.
internal migration; mortality; health selection; birth region; population data; Finland
There are 4000–5000 opioid abusers and about 1700 patients in opioid substitution treatment in Finland. New legislation (2008) allows less restrictive treatment models than before.
To assess advantages and disadvantages of pharmacy delivery of buprenorphine-naloxone and referral of stabile patients into primary health care.
Theory and methods
The setting was five Finnish outpatient clinics involved in treatment of opioid dependence in 2008–2009. Seventy-four patients (75% males, mean age 33, ½– 8 years in treatment) were interviewed. A questionnaire regarding the patients'´ situation was filled in by the nurses (n=166 patients). The view of personnel was studied in five group interviews (n=24) and through a questionnaire (n=36). Qualitative and quantitative methods were used.
Most patients were unemployed, had psychiatric problems, and had heavy history of drug abuse. Transition to pharmacy delivery and to primary health care was more difficult and time-consuming than expected. This was due to patients' insistent personal need for psychosocial treatment or concerns of the personnel. Financial and organizational factors also played an important role.
A variety of treatment models, careful evaluation of the patients’ situation, and training of personnel of clinics and health centres, and pharmacy staff is needed. Both patients and personnel were willing to move towards less restrictive models, if they were flexible enough.
opioid substitution treatment; primary health care; pharmacy delivery; buprenorphine naloxone; treatment assessment; Finland
OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether the quality of contraceptive services in Finland varies by the type of care provider. DESIGN: A cross sectional questionnaire survey. PARTICIPANTS: A random sample of 3000 Finnish women aged 18-44 years (response rate 74%) in 1994. RESULTS: Almost all women (94%) had used contraception at some time and 75% were current users. Although self care was common (29% had obtained their latest method outside the health services), 83% had sometimes used the health services for contraception. For their last visit, 55% of women had chosen a health centre (a publicly administered and funded health service), and 33% a private unit. In the health centre, the care provider was usually a general practitioner or a public health nurse, whereas in private care the providers were gynaecologists. Women who used private care were more likely to be from higher social classes and urban areas. After adjustment for a women's background, the two groups were similar for most indicators of the quality of care, but access to care and woman's experiences of treatment were better with private care. CONCLUSIONS: In terms of availability and choices the current system of contraceptive services in Finland is adequate. It is not always an integral part of municipal primary health care, and many women prefer private care for gynaecological services; this may case problems of comprehensiveness and equality of care.
STUDY OBJECTIVE--To study the significance of a young person's health to his or her choice of further education at age 16. DESIGN--A cross sectional population survey SETTING--The whole of Finland. PARTICIPANTS--A representative sample of 2977 Finnish 16 year olds. The response rate was 83%. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--The three outcome variables reflected successive steps on the way to educational success: school attendance after the completion of compulsory schooling, the type of school, and school achievement for those at school. Continuing their education and choosing upper secondary school were most typical of young people from upper social classes. Female gender and living with both parents increased the probability of choosing to go on to upper secondary school. Over and above these background variables, some health factors had additional explanatory power. Continuing their education, attending upper secondary schools, and good achievement were typical of those who considered their health to be good. Chronically ill adolescents were more likely to continue their education than the healthy ones. CONCLUSIONS--School imposes great demands on young people, thus revealing differences in personal health resources. Adaptation to the norms of a society in which education is highly valued is related to satisfying health status. In a welfare state that offers equal educational opportunities for everyone, however, chronically ill adolescents can add to their resources for coping through schooling. Health related selection thus works differently for various indicators of health and in various kinds of societies. Social class differences in health in the future may be more dependent on personally experienced health problems than on medically diagnosed diseases.
To investigate the association of smoking with bruxism while controlling for genetic and environmental factors using a co-twin-control design. Especially, the role of nicotine dependence was studied in this context.
The material derives from the Finnish Twin Cohort consisting of 12,502 twin individuals who responded to a questionnaire in 1990 (response rate of 77%). All were born in 1930–1957, the mean age being 44 years. The questionnaire covered 103 multiple choice questions, 7 dealing with tobacco use and 22 with sleep and vigilance matters, including perceived bruxism. In addition, a subsample derived from the Nicotine Addiction Genetics Finland Study containing 445 twin individuals was studied.
In age- and gender-controlled multinomial logistic regression, both monthly and rarely reported bruxism associated with both current cigarette smoking (odds ratio [OR] = 1.74 and 1.64) and former cigarette smoking (OR = 1.64 and 1.47). Weekly bruxism associated with current smoking (OR = 2.85). Current smokers smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day reported weekly bruxism more likely (OR = 1.61–1.97) than those smoking less. Among twin pairs (N = 142) in which one twin was a weekly bruxer and the cotwin a never bruxer, there were 13 monozygotic pairs in which one twin was a current smoker and the other twin was not. In all cases, the bruxer was the smoker (p = .0003). Nicotine dependence associated significantly with bruxism.
Our twin study provides novel evidence for a possible causal link between tobacco use and bruxism among middle-aged adults. Nicotine dependence may be a significant predisposing factor for bruxism.
In 2002, home-based management of fever (HBMF) was introduced in Uganda, to improve access to prompt, effective antimalarial treatment of all fevers in children under 5 years. Implementation is through community drug distributors (CDDs) who distribute pre-packaged chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (HOMAPAK®) free of charge to caretakers of febrile children. Adherence of caretakers to this regimen has not been studied.
A questionnaire-based survey combined with inspection of blister packaging was conducted to investigate caretakers' adherence to HOMAPAK®. The population surveyed consisted of internally displaced people (IDPs) from eight camps.
A total of 241 caretakers were interviewed. 95.0% (CI: 93.3% – 98.4%) of their children had received the correct dose for their age and 52.3% of caretakers had retained the blister pack. Assuming correct self-reporting, the overall adherence was 96.3% (CI: 93.9% – 98.7%). The nine caretakers who had not adhered had done so because the child had improved, had vomited, did not like the taste of the tablets, or because they forgot to administer the treatment. For 85.5% of cases treatment had been sought within 24 hours. Blister packaging was considered useful by virtually all respondents, mainly because it kept the drugs clean and dry. Information provided on, and inside, the package was of limited use, because most respondents were illiterate. However, CDDs had often told caretakers how to administer the treatment. For 39.4% of respondents consultation with the CDD was their reported first action when their child has fever and 52.7% stated that they consult her/him if the child does not get better.
In IDP camps, the HBMF strategy forms an important component of medical care for young children. In case of febrile illness, most caretakers obtain prompt and adequate antimalarial treatment, and adhere to it. A large proportion of malaria episodes are thus likely to be treated before complications can arise. Implementation in the IDP camps now needs to focus on improving monitoring, supervision and general support to CDDs, as well as on targeting them and caretakers with educational messages. The national treatment policy for uncomplicated malaria has recently been changed to artemether-lumefantrine. Discussions on a suitable replacement combination for HBMF are well advanced, and have raised new questions about adherence.
Experienced medical student educators may have insight into the reasons for declining interest in internal medicine (IM) careers, particularly general IM.
To identify factors that, according to IM clerkship directors, influence students’ decisions for specialty training in IM.
Cross-sectional national survey.
One hundred ten institutional members of Clerkship Directors in IM.
Frequency counts and percentages were reported for descriptive features of clerkships, residency match results, and clerkship directors’ perceptions of factors influencing IM career choice at participating schools. Perceptions were rated on a five-point scale (1 = very much pushes students away from IM careers; 5 = very much attracts students toward IM careers).
Survey response rate was 83/110 (76%); 80 answered IM career-choice questions. Clerkship directors identified three educational items attracting students to IM careers: quality of IM faculty (mean score 4.3, SD = 0.56) and IM rotation (4.1, SD = 0.67), and experiences with IM residents (3.9, SD = 0.94). Items felt most strongly to push students away from IM careers were current practice environment for internists (mean score 2.1, SD = 0.94), income (2.1, SD = 1.08), medical school debt (2.3, SD = 0.89), and work hours in IM (2.4, SD = 1.05). Factor analysis indicated three factors explaining students’ career choices: value/prestige of IM, clerkship experience, and exposure to internists.
IM clerkship directors believe that IM clerkship experiences attract students toward IM, whereas the income and lifestyle for practicing internists dissuade them. These results suggest that interventions to enhance the practice environment for IM could increase student interest in the field.
career choice; education, medical, undergraduate; medical students, workforce
OBJECTIVE: This article describes a method for investigating attitudes towards prioritisation in medicine. SETTING: University of Kuopio, Finland. DESIGN: The method consisted of a set of 24 paired scenarios, which were imaginary patient cases, each containing three different ethical indicators randomly selected from a list of indicators (for example, child, rich patient, severe disease etc.). The scenarios were grouped into 12 random pairs and the procedure was repeated four times, resulting in 12 scenario pairs arranged randomly in five different sets. SURVEY: This method was tested with four groups of subjects (n = 8, n = 47, n = 104 and n = 36). RESULTS: Children and patients with a severe disease were prioritised in all groups. The aged, patients with a mild disease and patients with a self-acquired disease were negatively prioritised in all groups. Poor or rich patients were prioritised in some groups but negatively prioritised in others. CONCLUSIONS: The validity and reliability of this method are good and it is suitable for investigating attitudes towards medical prioritisation.
The incidence of cancer among the indigenous Sami people of Northern Finland is lower than among the Finnish general population. The survival of Sami cancer patients is not known, and therefore it is the object of this study.
The cohort consisted of 2,091 Sami and 4,161 non-Sami who lived on 31 December 1978 in the two Sami municipalities of Inari and Utsjoki, which are located in Northern Finland and are 300–500 km away from the nearest central hospital. The survival experience of Sami and non-Sami cancer patients diagnosed in this cohort during 1979–2009 was compared with that of the Finnish patients outside the cohort.
The Sami and non-Sami cancer patients were matched to other Finnish cancer patients for gender, age and year of diagnosis and for the site of cancer. An additional matching was done for the stage at diagnosis. Cancer-specific survival analyses were made using the Kaplan–Meier method and Cox regression modelling.
There were 204 Sami and 391 non-Sami cancer cases in the cohort, 20,181 matched controls without matching with stage, and 7,874 stage-matched controls. In the cancer-specific analysis without stage variable, the hazard ratio for Sami was 1.05 (95% confidence interval 0.85–1.30) and for non-Sami 1.02 (0.86–1.20), indicating no difference between the survival of those groups and other patients in Finland. Likewise, when the same was done by also matching the stage, there was no difference in cancer survival.
Long distances to medical care or Sami ethnicity have no influence on the cancer patient survival in Northern Finland.
Sami; cancer; cancer survival; arctic population
Few studies have examined residents' retained knowledge and confidence regarding essential evidence-based medicine (EBM) topics.
To compare postgraduate year-3 (PGY-3) residents' confidence with EBM topics taught during internship with that of PGY-1 residents before and after exposure to an EBM curriculum.
All residents participated in an EBM curriculum during their intern year. We surveyed residents in 2009. PGY-1 residents completed a Likert-scale type survey (which included questions from the validated Berlin questionnaire and others, developed based on input from local EBM experts). We administered the Berlin questionnaire to a subset of PGY-3 residents.
Forty-five PGY-3 (88%; n = 51) and 42 PGY-1 (91%; n = 46) residents completed the survey. Compared with PGY-1 residents pre-curriculum, PGY-3 residents were significantly more confident in their knowledge of pre- and posttest probability (mean difference, 1.14; P = .002), number needed to harm (mean difference, 1.09; P = .002), likelihood ratio (mean difference, 1.01; P = .003), formulation of a focused clinical question (mean difference, 0.98; P = .001), and critical appraisal of therapy articles (mean difference, 0.91; P = .002). Perceived confidence was significantly lower for PGY-3 than post-curriculum PGY-1 residents on relative risk (mean difference, −0.86; P = .002), study design for prognosis questions (mean difference, −0.75; P = .004), number needed to harm (mean difference, −0.67; P = .01), ability to critically appraise systematic reviews (mean difference, −0.65, P = .009), and retrieval of evidence (mean difference, −0.56; P = .008), among others. There was no relationship between confidence with and actual knowledge of EBM topics.
Our findings demonstrate lower confidence among PGY-3 than among PGY-1 internal medicine residents for several EBM topics. PGY-3 residents demonstrated poor knowledge of several core topics taught during internship. Longitudinal EBM curricula throughout residency 5 help reinforce residents' EBM knowledge and their confidence.
Generic medicines are those where patent protection has expired, and which may be produced by manufacturers other than the innovator company. Use of generic medicines has been increasing in recent years, primarily as a cost saving measure in healthcare provision. Generic medicines are typically 20 to 90% cheaper than originator equivalents. Our objective is to provide a high-level description of what generic medicines are and how they differ, at a regulatory and legislative level, from originator medicines. We describe the current and historical regulation of medicines in the world’s two main pharmaceutical markets, in addition to the similarities, as well as the differences, between generics and their originator equivalents including the reasons for the cost differences seen between originator and generic medicines. Ireland is currently poised to introduce generic substitution and reference pricing. This article refers to this situation as an exemplar of a national system on the cusp of significant health policy change, and specifically details Ireland’s history with usage of generic medicines and how the proposed changes could affect healthcare provision.
Generic; Medicine; Drug; Pharmaceutical; Biosimilar; Prescribing; Healthcare; Economics; Ireland
Most patients with two or more migraine attacks per month do not use prophylactic medication. The aim of this study is to investigate how many patients use prophylaxis or would like to use them, and which aspects of migraine contribute to the choice to use prophylactic treatment. In a cross-sectional survey in three general practices, patients were selected who were diagnosed with migraine or had prescriptions for migraine medication. A questionnaire was sent to 283 patients and completed by 166 patients, of whom 15 were excluded. A total of 129 females and 22 males were included (median age 41 years). Most patients had two or more attacks per month (66.2%). Fifty-five per cent of patients with two or more attacks per month wanted to use prophylaxis; only 8% actually used this treatment. To get more insight into the ideas for or against prophylactic use, qualitative research is indicated.
headache; migraine; preventive therapy; prophylaxis; quality of life
Regulators and payers have to strike a balance between the needs of the patient and the optimal allocation of resources. Drugs indicated for rare diseases (orphan medicines) are a special group in this context because of their often high per unit costs. Our objective in this pilot study was to determine, for drugs used in an outpatient setting, how utilisation of centrally authorised drugs varies between countries across a selection of EU member states.
We randomly selected five orphan medicines and nine other drugs that were centrally authorised in the European Union between January 2000 and November 2006. We compared utilisation of these drugs in six European Union member states: Austria, Denmark, Finland, Portugal, The Netherlands, and Sweden. Utilisation data were expressed as Defined Daily Doses per 1000 persons per year. Variability in use across countries was determined by calculating the relative standard deviation for the utilisation rates of individual drugs across countries.
No association between orphan medicine status and variability in use across countries was found (P = 0.52). Drugs with an orphan medicine status were more expensive and had a higher innovation score than drugs without an orphan medicine status.
The results show that the variability in use of orphan medicines in the different health care systems of the European Union appears to be comparable to the other newly authorised drugs that were included in the analysis. This means that, although strong heterogeneity in access may exist, this heterogeneity is not specific for drugs with an orphan status.
Dupuytren’s disease (DD), commonly affecting European men, is generally treated with surgery.
Orthopaedic and plastic surgeons who had been practicing for >3 and <30 years and operated on ≥5 patients with DD between September and December 2008 were surveyed in 12 European countries (Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and UK). The survey assessed procedures performed, factors influencing choice of procedure, use of physical therapy and recurrence. Descriptive statistics are reported.
A total of 687 surgeons participated, including 579 orthopaedic and 108 plastic surgeons; 383 (56%) were hand surgeons. About 37% of surgeons performed percutaneous needle fasciotomy (PNF), 77% fasciotomy, 95% fasciectomy and 40% dermofasciectomy (DF). Surgeons’ choice of procedure was influenced by patient preferences, age, degree of contracture and recurrent disease. The percentage of surgeons prescribing physical therapy and the mean (standard deviation [SD]) duration of therapy increased with procedure complexity: PNF = 82%, 5.2 (3.9) weeks; fasciotomy = 94%, 5.3 (3.6); fasciectomy = 97%, 6.7 (5.1); and DF = 99%, 8.5 (6.4). Using survey responses, mean (SD) estimated recurrence rates decreased and estimated time to recurrence increased with procedure complexity—PNF = 44% (27%), 17 (15) months; fasciotomy = 30% (24%), 20 (18); fasciectomy = 20% (17%), 29 (23); and DF = 20% (19%), 33 (27).
Across Europe, patient and surgical factors influence the intention to use a surgical procedure. Fasciectomy was the most commonly performed procedure type and was associated with lower recurrence than PNF or fasciotomy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12570-012-0091-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Dupuytren’s disease; Cord contracture; Fasciectomy; Fasciotomy; Percutaneous needle fasciotomy; Dermofasciectomy
Against the background of reported different trends of incidence and presentation of coeliac disease in Sweden and Finland, a joint study was done to explore potential causes. The clinical study confirmed that classical symptoms and diagnosis before 2 years of age dominated in Sweden. In Finland, the symptoms were more diffuse and diagnosis in most cases was made after the age of 8 years. A significantly lower weight score attained at diagnosis was seen in Swedish patients compared with Finnish. No significant difference in HLA expression was found. Infant feeding was investigated by studying food records of healthy infants. Swedish infants ingested three times more wheat protein at 9 months and twice as much at 12 months compared with Finnish children. It is concluded that the intake of infant cereal protein might influence when and how clinical coeliac disease appears. The question whether or not it is important for if coeliac disease will be acquired still remains to be answered.
Methods: The study covered a representative sample of the Finnish population aged 30 years or over, primarily comprising 8000 people, of whom 7217 participated in the field survey carried out in 1978–80. RF from serum samples from 7116 subjects was determined by the Waaler-Rose (sensitised sheep cell agglutination) test. Titres ≥32 were regarded as positive and titres ≥128 as strongly positive. Arthritis was diagnosed by a thorough clinical examination.
Results: In the absence of arthritis the prevalence of positive and strongly positive RF reactions was 2.1% and 1.0%, respectively. The lowest prevalence of strongly "false positive" RF occurred in south western Finland. After adjustment for age, sex, smoking, and coffee consumption the odds ratio of having a strongly "false positive" RF reaction in eastern Finland was 3.16 (95% confidence interval 1.29 to 7.72) and in northern Finland 2.94 (1.13 to 7.64) compared with south western Finland. The corresponding odds ratio of strongly RF positive arthritis in eastern Finland was 5.08 (1.41 to 18.27).
Conclusion: Regional differences are found in the prevalence of a strongly positive RF reaction in the Finnish population. The findings are in accordance with recent results from another study concerning regional differences in the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis in Finland.
We aimed to examine longitudinally whether workplace bullying was associated with subsequent psychotropic medication among women and men.
A cohort study.
Employees of the City of Helsinki, Finland (n=6606, 80% women), 40–60 years at baseline in 2000–2002, and a register-based follow-up on medication.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Workplace bullying comprised questions about current and earlier bullying as well as observing bullying. The Finnish Social Insurance Institution's register data on purchases of prescribed reimbursed psychotropic medication were linked with the survey data. All psychotropic medication 3 years prior to and 5 years after the baseline survey was included. Covariates included age, prior psychotropic medication, childhood bullying, occupational class, and body mass index. Cox proportional hazard models (HR, 95% CI) were fitted and days until the first purchase of prescribed psychotropic medication after baseline were used as the time axis.
Workplace bullying was associated with subsequent psychotropic medication after adjusting for age and prior medication among both women (HR 1.51, 95% CI 1.18 to 1.93) and men (HR 2.15, 95% CI 1.36 to 3.41). Also observing bullying was associated with subsequent psychotropic medication among women (HR 1.53, 95% CI 1.25 to 1.88) and men (HR 1.92, 95% CI 1.23 to 2.99). The associations only modestly attenuated after full adjustment.
Our findings highlight the significance of workplace bullying to subsequent psychotropic medication reflecting medically confirmed mental problems. Tackling workplace bullying likely helps prevent mental problems among employees.
Epidemiology; Mental Health; Public Health
Over the decades, global public health efforts have sought to reduce socio-economic health differences, including differences in mental health. Only a few studies have examined changes in socio-economic differences in psychological symptoms over time. The aim of this study was to assess trends in socio-economic differences in self-reported insomnia and stress over a 24-year time period in Finland.
The data source is a repeated cross-sectional survey “Health Behaviour and Health among the Finnish Adult Population” (AVTK), from the years 1979 to 2002, divided into five study periods. Indicators for socio-economic status included employment status from the survey, and educational level and household income from the Statistics Finland register data. We studied the age group of 25–64 years (N = 70115; average annual response rate 75%). Outcome measures were single questions of self-reported insomnia and stress.
The overall prevalence of insomnia was 18-19% and that of stress 16-19%. Compared to the first study period, 1979–1982, the prevalence of stress increased until study period 1993–1997. The prevalence of insomnia increased during the last study period, 1998–2002. Respondents who were unemployed or had retired early reported more insomnia and stress over time among both men and women. Lower education was associated with more insomnia especially among men; and conversely, with less stress among both sexes. Compared to the highest household income level, those in the intermediate levels of income had less stress whereas those in the lowest income levels had more stress among both sexes. Income level differences in insomnia were less consistent. In general, socio-economic differences in self-reported insomnia and stress fluctuated some, but did not change substantially over the study period 1979–2002.
Self-reported insomnia and stress were more common during later study periods. The socio-economic differences in insomnia and stress have remained fairly stable over a 24-year time period. However, some of the associations in socio-economic differences were curvilinear and converse. Future studies are needed to explore the complex socio-economic gradients, especially in stress.
Self-reported insomnia; Self-reported stress; Socio-economic differences; Repeated cross-sectional survey; Time trend
STUDY OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to assess and validate self reported smoking prevalence and to assess smoking cessation related process variables in the Republic of Karelia, Russia and in North Karelia, Finland. DESIGN: Comparative population surveys of random population samples from both areas in spring 1992. The study included a self administered questionnaire, physical measurements and laboratory tests. The validity of self reported smoking prevalence was assessed by serum cotinine analyses. SETTING: The district of Pitkaranta in the Republic of Karelia, Russia and province of North Karelia, Finland. PARTICIPANTS: The study population was a 25 to 64 year old population in both areas. A stratified random sample of 1000 people in Pitkaranta and 2000 people in North Karelia was drawn from the population registers. In Pitkaranta 380 men and 455 women, and in North Karelia 673 men and 803 women, participated in the survey. RESULTS: The self reported prevalence rates of daily smoking in Pitkaranta were 65% among men and 10% among women. In North Karelia the respective rates were 29% and 13%. Women in Pitkaranta greatly underreported their smoking status, which was assessed by comparing the self reported data to the serum cotinine measurements. The smoking prevalence among women in Pitkaranta would rise from 10% to 21% if all participants with high cotinine values would be regarded as smokers. Compared with smokers in North Karelia, a higher percentage of smokers in Pitkaranta expressed their wish to quit and believed that they would succeed. However, on average they had fewer previous smoking cessation attempts than smokers in North Karelia. In addition, the health personnel in North Karelia were more active in advising smokers to quit. CONCLUSIONS: High smoking prevalence among men in Pitkaranta obviously contributes much to the high premature death rate in the Republic of Karelia. There is considerable underreporting of smoking in Pitkaranta, especially among women, which is probably attributable to the cultural unacceptability of female smoking in Russia. The common wish to quit, few previous cessation attempts and much lower rates of ex smokers, together with less smoking cessation counselling from health personnel, need to be considered in tailoring antismoking interventions in the area.
Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is an inherited arrhythmia disorder with an estimated prevalence of 0.01%–0.05%. In Finland, four founder mutations constitute up to 70% of the known genetic spectrum of LQTS. In the present survey, we sought to estimate the actual prevalence of the founder mutations and to determine their effect sizes in the general Finnish population.
Methods and results
We genotyped 6334 subjects aged≥30 years from a population cohort (Health 2000 study) for the four Finnish founder mutations using Sequenom MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. The electrocardiogram (ECG) parameters were measured from digital 12-lead ECGs, and QT intervals were adjusted for age, sex, and heart rate using linear regression. A total of 27 individuals carried one of the founder mutations resulting in their collective prevalence estimate of 0.4% (95% CI 0.3%–0.6%). The KCNQ1 G589D mutation (n=8) was associated with a 50 ms (SE 7.0) prolongation of the adjusted QT interval (P=9.0×10-13). The KCNH2 R176W variant (n=16) resulted in a 22 ms (SE 4.7) longer adjusted QT interval (P=2.1×10-6).
In Finland 1 individual out of 250 carries a LQTS founder mutation, which is the highest documented prevalence of LQTS mutations that lead to a marked QT prolongation.
Epidemiology; ion channels; KCNH2; KCNQ1; long QT syndrome; QT interval
To identify factors that influence medical students’ choice of family medicine versus another specialty and to analyze influential factors by urban versus rural background of students.
Cross-sectional questionnaire survey conducted in 2010.
University of Alberta in Edmonton.
A total of 118 first-, 120 second-, and 107 third-year medical students.
Main outcome measures
Twenty-two factors influencing preferred career choice, type of community lived in (rural vs urban), and student age and sex.
Overall, 283 (82.0%) students responded to the survey. Those who preferred family medicine rather than another specialty as a career option were older (≥ 25 years) (69.6% vs 40.9%, P < .001), female (69.6% vs 39.3%, P < .001), and had previously lived in rural locations (< 25 000 population) (46.8% vs 23.9%, P < .001). Four factors were significantly associated with students preferring family medicine compared with any other specialty: emphasis on continuity of care (87.3 vs 45.3%, P < .001); length of residency (73.4% vs 25.9%, P < .001); influence of family, friends, or community (67.1% vs 50.2%, P = .011); and preference for working in a rural community (41.8% vs 10.9%, P < .001). For students with urban backgrounds, the preference for family medicine was more strongly influenced by the opportunity to deal with a variety of medical problems; current debt load; and family, friends, or community than for those with rural backgrounds. Practice location preferences also differed between students from rural and urban backgrounds.
Medical students who prefer family medicine as a career choice appear to be influenced by a different set of factors than those who prefer other specialties. Being female; being older; having previously lived in a rural location; placing importance on continuity of care; desire for a shorter residency; and influence of family, friends, or community are associated with medical students preferring family medicine. Some differences in factors influencing career choice exist between medical students from rural versus urban backgrounds. To increase the supply of family physicians, medical schools might consider introducing elements into the admissions process and the medical curriculum that encourage family medicine as a career choice.
Since 2000, access to antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV infection has dramatically increased to reach more than five million people in developing countries. Essential to this achievement was the dramatic reduction in antiretroviral prices, a result of global political mobilization that cleared the way for competitive production of generic versions of widely patented medicines.
Global trade rules agreed upon in 1994 required many developing countries to begin offering patents on medicines for the first time. Government and civil society reaction to expected increases in drug prices precipitated a series of events challenging these rules, culminating in the 2001 World Trade Organization's Doha Declaration on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and Public Health. The Declaration affirmed that patent rules should be interpreted and implemented to protect public health and to promote access to medicines for all. Since Doha, more than 60 low- and middle-income countries have procured generic versions of patented medicines on a large scale.
Despite these changes, however, a "treatment timebomb" awaits. First, increasing numbers of people need access to newer antiretrovirals, but treatment costs are rising since new ARVs are likely to be more widely patented in developing countries. Second, policy space to produce or import generic versions of patented medicines is shrinking in some developing countries. Third, funding for medicines is falling far short of needs. Expanded use of the existing flexibilities in patent law and new models to address the second wave of the access to medicines crisis are required.
One promising new mechanism is the UNITAID-supported Medicines Patent Pool, which seeks to facilitate access to patents to enable competitive generic medicines production and the development of improved products. Such innovative approaches are possible today due to the previous decade of AIDS activism. However, the Pool is just one of a broad set of policies needed to ensure access to medicines for all; other key measures include sufficient and reliable financing, research and development of new products targeted for use in resource-poor settings, and use of patent law flexibilities. Governments must live up to their obligations to protect access to medicines as a fundamental component of the human right to health.
Care during pregnancy and labour is of great importance in every culture. Studies show that people of migrant origin have barriers to obtaining accessible and good quality care compared to people in the host society. The aim of this study is to compare the access to and use of maternity services, and their outcomes among ethnic minority women having a singleton birth in Finland.
The study is based on data from the Finnish Medical Birth Register in 1999–2001 linked with the information of Statistics Finland on woman's country of birth, citizenship and mother tongue. Our study data included 6,532 women of foreign origin (3.9% of all singletons) giving singleton birth in Finland during 1999–2001 (compared to 158,469 Finnish origin singletons).
Most women have migrated during the last fifteen years, mainly from Russia, Baltic countries, Somalia and East Europe. Migrant origin women participated substantially in prenatal care. Interventions performed or needed during pregnancy and childbirth varied between ethnic groups. Women of African and Somali origin had most health problems resulted in the highest perinatal mortality rates. Women from East Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Somalia had a significant risk of low birth weight and small for gestational age newborns. Most premature newborns were found among women from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Primiparous women from Africa, Somalia and Latin America and Caribbean had most caesarean sections while newborns of Latin American origin had more interventions after birth.
Despite good general coverage of maternal care among migrant origin women, there were clear variations in the type of treatment given to them or needed by them. African origin women had the most health problems during pregnancy and childbirth and the worst perinatal outcomes indicating the urgent need of targeted preventive and special care. These study results do not confirm either healthy migrant effect or epidemiological paradox according to which migrant origin women have considerable good birth outcomes.