Disbursement of Indemnity for Injuries Related to Reproductive Drugs and Devices: A Swedish Perspective


Sweden has Europe’s oldest pharmaceutical insurance system. (See Appendix A describing other European domestic pharmaceutical insurance systems.) The Swedish pharmaceutical insurance system was created in 1978 to supplement Sweden’s weak tort liability system, which made it very costly for plaintiffs to mount a case and very difficult for them to prove fault. The need for a supplement to the tort liability system was notreadily apparent in Sweden. For many years, the necessity of a strong tortliability system in Sweden was hidden because of the country’s well developed national social insurance and health care systems. Instead of being compensated through the tort liability system, injured persons could simply turn to either the social insurance or health care program for assistance. Needless to say, this put a strain on those two programs.

The Swedish pharmaceutical insurance system is the result of a voluntary agreement between insurance companies. It is not a statutory scheme. The system is designed to be an easily administered form of protection against personal injury. The system seeks to compensate persons on the basis of need rather than fault. Under the pharmaceutical insurance system, compensation awards never reach the level of compensation commonly found in United States. The pharmaceutical insurance system is notan exclusive remedy in Sweden. If an injured person does not seek relief through the pharmaceutical insurance system, then she is free to pursue a claim in the traditional tort liability system.

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