New initiative in the healthcare industry with more than 40 measures

The Minister of Trade and Industry and the Minister of Health and Care Services presented on 23 August a Roadmap for the Health Industry. The 41 measures in the the Roadmap will contribute to profitable business development and sustainable health and care services.

Picture of Jan Christian Vestre and Ingvild Kjerkol
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Jan Christian Vestre and the Minister of Health and Care Services, Ingvild Kjerkol, present the Roadmap for the Health Industry. Photo: NFD / David Tvetene

“There is a great potential for business development in health and life sciences. We are facing a challenging situation with more elderly people and fewer health workers. With this Roadmap we will speed up our Norwegian transformation processes to a sustainable  society, and provide the business sector with the tools they need to develop smart solutions to solve these challenges,” says the Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Christian Vestre.

The purpose of the Roadmap is to show the great breadth of the Government's policy to promote and strengthen the health and care industry in Norway, and sets out a course by specifying the Government's ambitions for that industry. This is to be fullfilled through 12 priority areas and 41 measures.

“Everyone in Norway should have access to good health services regardless of their income and place of residence. To achieve this, we are completely dependent on new technology, as well as new products and services  , which will allow us to utiliseour resources in a smarter way. This provides peace of mind in everyday life and more user-friendly solutions,” says the Minister of Health and Care Services, Ingvild Kjerkol.

National commitment to pharmaceutical production

The health industry creates around 11,000 green jobs throughout the country, and contributes to Norwegian transformation processes to a sustainable society for the future. The Roadmap is aimed at that segment of industry that develops pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and digital tools. One of the measures is to establish a national commitment to pharmaceutical production within existing framework and policy instruments.

“Norway has strong research and innovation environments within pharmaceuticals. We are now establishing a national commitment to pharmaceutical production, which facilitates even better utilisation of the capacity and expertise. At the same time, we will look into how the health industry can benefit from a Catapult Programme. This could give SMEs the resources they need to invest,” says Vestre. The Catapult Programme supports multi-purpose centres for the testing and simulation of new products and processes, and provides companies with access to infrastructure that otherwise would not ave been available. In collaboration with Innovation Norway and the Research Council of Norway, the Industrial Development Corporation of Norway (SIVA) has been requested to implement these measures.

The public sector's responsibility

The Roadmap shows how the Government's health policy creates new opportunities for the business sector, and gives the industry an overview of the needs of the health and care sector in the future.

“Our common health services need to work alongside a vibrant supplier industry. A sustainable and high quality health service  must be developed through a close interaction between those working in technological development, academia and the service sector. The public health service should be a good and predictable partner for the business sector,” says  Kjerkol.

The public sector is an important player in the health industry. That is why the Government is working to simplify the regulations for public procurement while climate and environmental considerations are weighted more heavily.

Establishing an arena for dialogue

The Government is establishing a specific arena for dialogue between responsible ministries and representatives from the health industry. Following up the  Roadmap will be on the agenda,  as well as looking into other possible  measures  so that we achieve growth in the future.

“We will be facing many challenges in the health sector in the coming years. We therefore see a clear need for interaction between the authorities and the health industry. The arena will not only contribute to a better understanding of each other's point of view, but also trigger new innovations and solutions that will  make Norway better prepared for the future,” adds Vestre.

Twelve selected measures from the Roadmap

  1. Further develop the Catapult Programme  in the current public policy instrument system.
  2. Ensure that research environments in both the private and public sector will receive quick and relevant guidance of high quality when they are to carry out clinical studies in Norway.
  3. Design a specific structure for the revised cluster programme.
  4. Establish a health technology scheme that supports the introduction of new welfare technology in the health and care service.
  5. Facilitate the business sector’s access to public health data.
  6. Siva is requested, in collaboration with the Research Council of Norway and Innovation Norway, to look into how the health industry can benefit to a greater extent from the Catapult Programme, including assessing whether a separate centre should be established for the industry or whether this can be done at current  centres.
  7. Align the FORNY Programme so that the R&D institutions themselves take responsibility for commercialisation in the early phase.
  8. Contribute to mobilising Norwegian applicants from the health industry towards EU programmes and schemes.
  9. Consider measures to strengthen competence regarding intellectual property rights in the health industry.
  10. Pursue an active policy that contributes to good overall framework conditions, which facilitate private investment and further growth.
  11. Ensure increased awareness in the public sector about procurement responsibility.
  12. Together with relevant businesses, develop and initiate a separate export promotion initiative within the health industry as part of Norway’s Export Strategy