Korean delegation tracing the best health care system in the world

An open-minded attitude towards technology exuded from the Korean delegation that explored the Finnish health care system in June 2019. One of the places visited was Finland’s largest hospital pharmacy, HUS-Apteekki, where the hospital industry experts were visibly excited and rushed to take photos of the largest automated dispensing system for medicines in the world.

NewIcon’s Product Specialist Timo Huttunen was impressed by the sincerity of the Koreans. The fully automated dispensing system in its authentic environment attracted the interest of the experts even through many Korean hospital pharmacies already have automated dispensing systems.

The main purpose of the visit to Finland was to get acquainted with the IV ICON Twins compounding system for intravenous antibiotics, the likes of which is not yet available in Korean hospitals. Preliminary talks have also taken place regarding a compounding system for patient-specific cancer medicines in product development at NewIcon.

“Korean hospitals aim to improve patient safety, especially when compounding intravenous medicines. This is based on a very unfortunate accident a few years ago in which young children were killed by contaminated medicines. There is definitely a desire to avoid similar accidents in the future”, says Huttunen.

The Korean delegation also diligently studied the Finnish health care system, which has been recognised as the best in the world in many international studies*. For this reason, in addition to hospitals, the places to visit also included Fimea, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland Kela and Business Finland.

“Koreans appreciate Finnish health care even though we Finns certainly have things to learn from them as well. However, there was no time for an in-depth discussion about the differences between the countries’ health care systems during the compact visit. It is perhaps easy to learn from our hospitals’ example as strict EU regulation alone determines the quality of our health care”, Huttunen estimates.

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Pharmacy automation in hospitals

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Delegation from Korea:

  • NewIcon’s distributor candidate ICONcare by BTB & Company Ltd
  • Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul
  • Seoul National University Hospital, Bundang
  • Asan Medical Centre
  • Korea University Medical Centre
  • Yonsei University Severance Hospital
  • Samsung Medical Centre, Kangbuk
  • Pusan National University Hospital, Busan
  • Chonnam National University Hospital, Hwasoon
  • Catholic University Hospital, Daegu


* Source: The Lancet. Article: Measuring performance on the Healthcare Access and Quality Index for 195 countries and territories and selected subnational locations: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 Global Burden of Disease Health Financing Collaborator Network. Published: May 23, 2018


Finland’s health care system*

  • 21 hospital districts
  • 30 on-call hospitals
  • 100% of hospitals have some pharmacy automation systems in place. 17 hospitals have an automated dispensing system, automated dispensing cabinets and/or compounding system for intravenous antibiotics.
  • The Finnish health care system is based on public health care services to which everyone residing in the country is entitled.
  • According to the Constitution of Finland, the public authorities shall guarantee for everyone adequate social, health and medical services.
  • Public health care services are funded by tax revenue and client fees charged for services.
  • Responsibility for organising public health care services is borne by the municipalities and joint municipal authorities. A municipality can also procure services from a private company or from an organisation.


  • Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea
  • Social Insurance Institution of Finland Kela
  • HUS
    Mega-Fixu automated dispensing system, installed in 2015
  • Vantaanportti pharmacy
    Iso-Fixu automated dispensing cabinet, installed in 2016
  • Business Finland
  • NewIcon
  • Central Finland Central Hospital/Hospital Nova
    2 IV ICON Twins compounding systems for intravenous antibiotics, installed in 2016 and 2020
    35 automated dispensing cabinets, installed in 2019–2020
  • Lahti Central Hospital
    Mega-Fixu automated dispensing system, installed in 2016
  • Kuopio University Hospital
    Mega-Fixu automated dispensing system, installed in 2015
    65 automated dispensing cabinets, installed in 2015–2018
    IV ICON Basic compounding system for intravenous antibiotics, installed in 2015
    Kuopio University Hospital is upgrading its compounding system for intravenous antibiotics in early 2020 to a newer generation version, IV Icon Twins, which entered the market in 2016.


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