The Finnish Supreme Administrative Court has in its recent decision (KHO:2013:181) ruled on the access to the prescription register of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA) on the basis of scientific research. The Court especially examined the definition of scientific research in the context of Section 28 of the Act on the Openness of Government Officials (621/1999).

The case was about a clinical research company that received funding from a pharmaceutical company, and had applied for a research permit to gain access to the prescription register of KELA. The research company intended to conduct a statistical research with the data derived from said register. KELA denied the permit stating that it could not be concluded with certainty that the main intentions of the research were scientific and that the data could also be of use to the pharmaceutical company funding the research. The Administrative Court and the Supreme Administrative Court affirmed this decision.