The individual countries of the Nordics (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden) are either relatively small or not as densely populated as other European countries, but their Life Sciences industry (Biotech, Medical Technology, Pharma) is well developed. Sweden and Denmark are certainly the strongest when it comes to R&D. They have full pipelines with biotech compounds.
Surely, each country is recognized for different strengths: Denmark has favourable regulations, Norway stands out by strong financing and Sweden has the strongest research. What can be said for all of them is that they rank high in EU patent filings; all four of them are among the top 5.
What seems striking, is the number of Biotech companies in comparison to the pharma, which is even considerably far behind medical technology. An indication for innovation?
Another thing all countries have in common is that you find Life Science clusters, that formed mainly around the capitals. But they are not only national “phenomena” – they exist beyond country borders, too. One very good example is the Medicon Valley, covering Eastern Denmark and Southern Sweden. According to their own information there are around 40 thousand employees working there.
Still, the cooperation between the clusters within the countries and beyond country borders are yet to be improved to gain an even better starting position for current future trends, such as eHealth and the importance of Big Data.
Future Trends in the Nordics
The future trends in the Nordics are not much different than the ones all other companies and healthcare systems have around the globe. They stem from an aging society, increasing chronic disease level and health care systems becoming financially under strain. Which results in a shift towards patient and payer orientation.
During these developments, eHealth and Big Data have become more and more important and will continue to be. Data basically means information about your patients. eHealth results in possibility to develop products that better fulfil the patients’ needs.
And the Nordics actually have a very strong position in eHealth and availability of patient data. Denmark and Finland for example started their efforts towards this on a national level 20 years ago. Today, electronic health records are the rule in the Nordic countries and so patient information can be exchanged between different stakeholders in the healthcare system and industry, as well as between countries.
A Way to Go
Still, the industry says that more collaboration on a national and Nordic level is necessary in order to drive a holistic national and Nordic approach to be able to better leverage on future opportunities from eHealth / Big Data and Personalized Medicine. Most recently the Danish government established a task force consisting of industry leaders to find ways how to do this. A limiting factor, however, is decreasing funding from investors. A problem which puts the Nordics in a very difficult position considering taxes are high for companies, esp. compared to countries like Ireland or favourable conditions in the US.
Personalized Medicine and HEOR
Personalized Medicine is another global trend. In the Nordics, the effect of that is M&As like when Thermo Fisher bought Phadia because of their advanced diagnostic technology. Diagnostic is key in Personalized Medicine. Just like in the rest of Europe, Health Economics and Outcomes Research gains importance for companies to prove better efficiency and treatment, factoring in other factors than simply efficacy of a drug. Like patient care and adherence and total economic outcome. In order to receive better reimbursement for their products or services from payers.
Our Nordics specialist at K-Recruiting is Olga Zhikhareva, who will be happy to help you out with any external resources you might need in many different Life Science areas, including HEOR/Market Access or eHealth and social media solutions.
+49 (0) 89 189 099 828