2 General (1) Price competition has been modest in Finnish drug market. Consumers mainly purchase drugs prescribed by their doctors. The situation changed when generic substitution was introduced (April 1, 2003).
3 General (2) Noticeable and expected result was decrease of (stock) prices. Furthermore, the market attracted new competitors. What was unexpected was that in Finland the drug compensation expenses went through the roof in 2004 (+10% vs. +0,2% in Sweden) *. Clearly, the lowered stock prices and increased competition did not benefit the consumer. * Source: Turun Sanomat, April 26, 2005.
4 General (3) Consumer related problem is that they are not necessarily aware of the appropriate substitutes. The approval of substitutes is carefully controlled – and so is the information distribution. The national agency of medicines (lääkelaitos) is the controlling authority, which releases the drug information in preset format.
5 Our Solution With our solution we try to increase the availability of information as well as general awareness about the substitutes. Our solution is implemented in such fashion that it will have the highest possible customer penetration as well as familiarity and ease of use. Regardless, this is just a technology demonstration not to be used in production.
6 Technology (1) The underlying information system is in principle similar to the commercial applications that use mobile operators SMS Gateway. An AT-compatible mobile phone, connected to a standard PC mimics the operators SMS Gateway. Due to the downscaled structure of the system the performance is naturally significantly lower.
8 Operation Operation of the system is similar to other widely used SMS-based systems. Syntax of incoming messages must be in preset format, using a keyword and appropriate delimiter characters. Outgoing messages are similar to the structure of incoming messages (without the keyword and unnecessary delimiters).
10 Used Technology J2SE 5.0 JDBC (for database connection). jSMSEngine (API package). jSMSEngine is an API package, written in Java, which will allow you to send and receive SMS messages from your PC, with the use of a mobile phone or a GSM modem. More info: http://jsmsengine.sourceforge.net/
11 What next? (1) With the permission and cooperation of national agency of medicines, and with a paying customer, the service could be integrated into mobile operators SMS Gateway. The system requires constant updating as up-to-date information is published. The system also requires a functional billing mechanism and logging functions.
12 What next? (2) Or the system could be implemented as Symbian (or java) application on a (modern) mobile terminal. This kind of approach would allow easier integration of other services (search functions, browsing, even positioning). The problem with this approach is the increased work load and lower customer penetration (and billing models).
13 Finally (1) Want to try? Send a SMS message to the number of the service. Try messages like: SUBST;ACEBUTOLOL ALTERNOVA;400 mg;100 SUBST;ACICLOVIR ALPHARMA;800 mg;35 SUBST;MIRTARATIO;30 mg;30 Please note, the messages are case sensitive.
14 Finally (2) Questions or comments? Please note: the service number functions only during this demonstration.