All posts by Didrik Ottesen

AmCham deltar i Stortingets Helsekomite-høring

— AmCham ser ingen grunn til at det skal være ulikt for offentlige anskaffelser av legemidler i forhold til anskaffelser i andre sektorer, eller helsesektoren for øvrig, sa Katja Dahl Murphy, Myndighetskontakt i AmCham Norway, på høringen om konfidensielle legemiddelpriser i regi av Stortingets Helse- og omsorgskomite tidligere i dag (torsdag).

— Konfidensialitet rundt enhetspriser ved offentlige innkjøp er viktig for beskyttelse av forretningshemmeligheter. Prinsippet er i all hovedsak bærende ved pristilbud, hvor det offentlige kjøper inn tjenester eller produkter På bakgrunn av dette, er det avgjørende at konkurranseprinsippet opprettholdes også for legemiddelindustrien, sa Dahl Murphy.

AmCham understrekte videre at det myndighetene har gjort siden 2016, da konfidensielle priser ble innført, er å gjøre innkjøpsprosessene i tråd med regelverket og at dette er den samme praksisen som andre deler av det offentlige har gjort i en årrekke.

Konkurransemessige utfordringer

AmCham hadde tre minutter til rådighet for sitt innlegg, og Dahl Murphy fokuserte videre på at det er viktig å presisere at totalkostnaden for legemiddelbruk er tilgjengelig informasjon, det samme er maksimalprisen på legemidlene, men at den rabaterte prisen er konfidensiell.

—Da ulike delpriser i leverandørens tilbud kan bli ansett som sensitive opplysninger av konkurransemessig art, er det meget viktig å holde disse konfidensielle i det norske markedet. Et marked hvor få aktører stadig møtes i anbudskonkurranser.

—Som vi nylig har sett eksempler på, gir forhandlinger og anbud med konfidensielle priser til dels betydelige prisreduksjoner. Offentliggjøring av disse kan dermed øke prisene på — og hemme norske pasienters tilgang til — nye, innovative legemidler, forklarte Dahl Murphy.

I et av representantforslagene før høringen, ble det fremhevet nødvendigheten av å opprettholde prinsippet om konfidensielle priser knyttet til legemidler for sjeldne sykdommer i den hensikt for å oppnå best pris.

—Etter AmChams vurdering er dette et perfekt eksempel på at konfidensialitet generelt gir rabaterte priser, sa Dahl Murphy.

Dahl Murphy presiserte også at AmCham mener åpenhet bør være hovedregelen innen offentlig forvaltning. Både når det gjelder åpenhet om legemiddelhonorarer fra legemiddelindustrien til helsepersonell og hvordan prioriteringsbeslutningene tas. Sistnevnte sikres gjennom prioriteringskriteriene som er vedtatt av Stortinget.

Samarbeid mellom legemiddelindustrien, helsepersonell og offentlig sektor er avgjørende for å utvikle en bærekraftig helsenæring i Norge.

Mulig handelshindring

Hun påpekte avslutningsvis på at problemstillingen om konfidensialitet har vært et aktuelt tema på bilaterale samtaler mellom USA og Norge de siste 15 årene.

—AmCham stiller oss avventende til forslagstillernes tilnærming og vil fremheve at offentliggjøring av prisreduksjoner kan ha betydelige konsekvenser for internasjonal handel, samt praktiseringen av offentlige anskaffelser i andre sektorer, konkluderte Dahl Murphy.

Se den engelske versjonen her og hele høringssvaret her.

AmCham Appears Before Parliamentary Health Committee Hearing

“AmCham sees no particular reason why there should be a difference in the public procurement of pharmaceuticals as compared to procurements within other sectors – or the health sector in general,” said Katja Dahl Murphy, AmCham’s Member & Government Affairs Consultant, during a hearing examining the confidentiality of pharmaceutical discount pricing at the Parliament earlier today (Thursday).

“Confidential pricing through public procurement is essential to protecting trade secrets. In fact, it is standard procedure in nearly all public procurement processes, both when purchasing medical equipment and vaccines and, generally, for all other public bodies purchasing services or products.”

“With that taken into consideration, it is vital that the same principles for competition are maintained — also for the pharmaceutical industry,” Dahl Murphy said.

AmCham further emphasized that, since confidential pricing was introduced in 2016, the Norwegian authorities’ procurement processes have been in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. These are the same practices as utilized by other public sector bodies for years.

Competitive Challenges

Dahl Murphy succinctly presented AmCham’s key points in the hearing organized by the Health and Care Services Committee.

She continued by highlighting how total costs of medicines are indeed publicly available, as are maximum medicines prices. What is confidential, however, is the discount provided by pharmaceutical companies to the authorities. 

“Considering industry sensitive information for competition purposes, it is essential to ensure that the different aspects of the suppliers’ discounts for the Norwegian market are kept confidential. This is a market where few companies meet regularly to compete for public tenders.”

“We have recently witnessed examples illustrating how negotiations and tenders with confidential pricing can lead to substantial price reductions. Making these discounts publicly available is likely to increase pricing of — and subsequently inhibit Norwegian patients’ access to — new, innovative products,” Dahl Murphy explained.  

During her allotted time, Dahl Murphy also emphasized AmCham’s position that transparency should be the guiding principle within public health procurement, both regarding honorariums received by healthcare personnel and through Parliament-approved tender prioritization criteria.

Collaboration between industry, health personnel and decision-making bodies is essential for developing a sustainable healthcare industry in Norway.

Possible Trade Barriers

Dahl Murphy also emphasized how the subject of Norwegian procurement confidentiality has been a topic of regular discussion during US-Norway bilateral trade talks over the past 15 years.

“AmCham remains concerned about the motion discussed today and would like to emphasize that making public sector price reductions publicly available information could precipitate serious consequences for international trade, as well as how public procurement processes are conducted in other sectors,” Dahl Murphy concluded.

Please see the statement in Norwegian here or the full hearing submission here.

AmCham Mentorship Program – Third Edition Successfully Concluded

AmCham completed a rewarding third year of our popular Mentorship Program, with Stein Rømmerud, VP & Country Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners Norge, hosting the session and providing an exclusive tour of the beverage giant’s Norway headquarters.

Initiated in May 2018, this edition included mentor directors and their respective mentee colleagues from 3M, AIG, AmCham, Bristol-Myers Squibb, British American Tobacco, Citi, Gambit H+K, IBM, Janssen-Cilag, KPMG, MSD, Philip Morris, Radisson Hotel Group, Roche and the US Embassy.

All participants were paired across industries, based on interests and goals, to facilitate leadership dialogue, share best practices, and learn from one other through AmCham’s set nine-month curriculum.

Leading Through Change

Ranked as the fifth strongest brand in the world and present in 206 global markets, Coca-Cola has remained a relevant and dominant actor since its establishment in 1886. More than 1,9 billion units of their products are consumed globally each day.

AmCham Mentorship Program – Third Edition

The key to this success, according to Rømmerud, is to understand trends, invest heavily in R&D and diversify country portfolios to meet changing consumer needs. Since the launch of Diet Coke in 1982, the company has continued to diversify their portfolio to include juices, coffee, water, energy drinks and, most recently, to include organic products, such Honest Organic Iced Tea.

 “Sometimes, you have to make tough choices by changing the product portfolio. That can mean discontinuation of product lines in order to successfully compete on a global scale, where consumer demands vary drastically between different markets.”

“The volume of niche products is expanding, and Coca-Cola must embrace this and be a part of the change. Last year, Coca-Cola launched 24 new products, and this year, we are launching 30,” Rømmerud said.

Highlighting Coca-Cola’s efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, Rømmerud noted that the Norwegian market is unique, with well-developed and advanced bottle deposit systems. Coca-Cola anticipates that such systems will evolve in other countries.

To be a part of the solution, Coca-Cola continuously strives to make their packaging more environmentally sustainable by reducing the volume of plastic. Further, Coca-Cola Norway has invested in modernizing their logistical operations by switching to electric vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint.

2019-2020 Mentorship Program

To further leverage our unique network of internationally-oriented executive leaders, AmCham is now planning the next edition of our Mentorship Program.

The 2019-20 program is open for all AmCham Patron-level members. Please contact Katja Dahl Murphy (kdm@amcham.no) for additional information and registration.  

AmCham Mentorship participants enjoying the tour of Coca-Cola’s facilities.

Company Profile: Icelandair – The Shortest Flight-Route Between America & Europe


With simulated Northern Lights in the cabin and extra legroom for all passengers, Icelandair utilizes its unique geographical location to provide the shortest flight-route between North America and Europe. That passengers also have the option of exploring the Saga island on their way, is an added bonus.

Company Profile: Icelandair

With over twenty US destinations, close to thirty European destinations and several hundred connection options, Icelandair is emerging as a leading carrier for transatlantic routes.

“Our competitive advantage is Iceland. Not only the location, but also the Icelandic culture and nature. We therefore strive to develop our service with the authentic Icelandic experience.”

“Our vision is to unlock Iceland’s potential as a year-round destination, to strengthen Iceland’s position as a connecting hub and to maintain our focus on flexibility and the in-flight experience,” Bjørn Tore Larsen, Icelandair’s Sales Manager in Norway, says.

Connection Hub

Founded in 1937, the airline has connections throughout Europe and North America, and when channeling flights through their main hub at Keflavik airport, they ensure minimal delays and supreme baggage control.

Company Profile: Icelandair
Icelandair Routes

“Regarding our market development, we are still experiencing that about 50% of all passengers use Icelandair as the “via alternative,” meaning passengers flying between Europe and North America only stop on the island to catch the next flight out. Interestingly — as this number has grown over the years — one third of the people using Iceland as a layover hub have chosen to make a prolonged stop on the island.”

“Although also increasing, about 36% of our customers are flying Icelandair to get to Iceland as their final destination, additionally boosting the country’s economy through tourism” Larsen says.

Highest Number of Female Pilots

The Saga Island’s leading airline operated 26,500 flights last year, which covered more than eight million kilometers flown- equivalent to 25 trips to the moon.

Characteristically when representing Iceland, which is a leader in global gender equality rankings, Icelandair is the airline with most female pilots in the world.

Company Profile: Icelandair

“As the airline’s strategy is to highlight the Icelandic culture, nature and experience, being the airline with most female pilots exemplifies that we respect the country’s focus on equality,” Larsen says, who also says that the number of tourists visiting Iceland has grown significantly in recent years— particularly in the winter months.

Sustainability Goals

Having undertaken ambitious measures to improve aircraft fuel efficiency and implement other sustainability efforts, Icelandair recently introduced the Boeing 737 Max, which uses less fuel and creates less noise for passengers.

“We have seen a drastic increase in fuel efficiency and all of our subsidiaries have introduced certified environmental management systems.”

“Additionally, as all flights go through Keflavik airport, our fleet plan is very flexible and when needed, we can reorganize the passengers to other flights, hence adjusting the number of aircraft in operation in accordance with market conditions and passenger needs,” Larsen says.

Icelandair offers corporate deals and has been an AmCham member since 2004.

Norwegian-American: Hotel Amerikalinjen- an interesting new attraction

Ask a guidebook writer- David Nikel answers Norway travel FAQs.

Is there anything new opening in 2019?

David Nikel

Photo: Amerikalinjen
What you can expect from Oslo’s new Norwegian American hotel, Amerikalinjen.

The most interesting new attraction for readers of The Norwegian American is actually a hotel. Set to open in March, Amerikalinjen is the refurbished headquarters of the Norwegian America Line on Jernbanetorget in central Oslo. It’s from here that the forefathers of many readers of The Norwegian American set sail for America a century ago. It’s a compelling narrative, so I’m excited as anyone to see if the experience lives up to the expectations.

If you’re traveling to Norway in 2019, have a great time and if you happen to stop by Trondheim, feel free to look me up for a coffee and a chat!

Read the full story HERE.

Norway Exported for NOK 999,8 bn in 2018

The external trade statistics comprise the development in Norway’s trade with other countries in terms of value and volume figures. Aggregated as well as detailed imports and exports figures between Norway and partner countries, trade regions and continents are provided.

External trade in goods

UPDATED

15 January 2019

CORRECTED15 January 2019

NEXT UPDATE

15 May 2019

Key figures

999.8

NOK billion – Exports in 2018

NOK BillionShare in per centChange in per cent
201820182017 – 2018
Imports711.8100.04.0
Ships and oil platforms2.60.4-88.3
Exports999.8100.016.2
Crude oil264.026.418.3
Natural gas263.826.429.9
Natural gas condensates6.50.730.4
Ships and oil platforms7.90.8-28.1
Mainland exports457.645.89.3
The trade balance288.0.63.5
The mainland trade balance-251.7.-3.2

The Top-50 biopharmaceutical investors in the world.

The European Commission (@EU_Commission) Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard 2017/18 comprises of the 2,500 private-sector companies investing the largest sums in research and development in the world . These companies, based in 46 countries, invested a total of €736.4 Bn which is approximately 90% of the world’s business-funded R&D.

The Scoreboard included 154 biopharmaceuticals manufacturers, contributing a total of €138.9 Bn in research and development – approximately 19% of the global estimate. The sector is the one of the most research-intensive in the world. Sixteen of the Top-50 innovative companies in the world are drugmakers. 

Here is the list of the Top-fifty biopharmaceutical investors in the world 

The NCS is barely halfway through its oil and gas story, according to NPD

STAVANGER — The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s forecasts show that, after a minor decline in 2019, oil and gas production will increase from 2020 and up to 2023. Overall production will then approach the record year of 2004. 

“The activity level on the Norwegian Shelf is high. Production forecasts for the next few years are promising and lay a foundation for substantial revenues, both for the companies and the Norwegian society. There is considerable interest in exploring for oil and gas,” says NPD Director General Bente Nyland.

Exploration activity was considerably higher last year than in the two previous years. The number of exploration wells has increased dramatically, and 87 new production licenses were awarded, which is a new record.

A total of 53 exploration wells were spudded last year, compared with 36 in 2017. The companies’ plans show that this number will probably remain at the same high level in 2019. Eleven discoveries were made, with a preliminary resource estimate of 82 MMsm3 of recoverable oil equivalents. This is higher than each of the three previous years.

“The high level of exploration activity proves that the Norwegian Shelf is attractive. That is good news! However, resource growth at this level is not sufficient to maintain a high level of production after 2025. Therefore, more profitable resources must be proven, and the clock is ticking,” says Nyland.

She notes that nearly two-thirds of the undiscovered resources are in the Barents Sea. This area will be important for maintaining high production over the longer term.

Norway is an important long-term supplier of gas to Europe. Gas can contribute to more sustainable development in three ways: by providing reasonable and stable access to energy, by displacing use of coal and by supporting renewable energy production.

“In the time ahead, there will be more available capacity in pipelines and other infrastructure for gas. This means that it is more attractive to explore for gas, and it is important that the industry exploits this opportunity,” says Nyland.

At year-end, there were 83 producing fields on the Norwegian Shelf. One of these – Aasta Hansteen – came on stream in 2018. Simultaneously with start-up of Aasta Hansteen, the Polarled pipeline commenced operation to route gas in to the process facility at Nyhamna in Møre og Romsdal county. Aasta Hansteen and Polarled provide new infrastructure in the northern part of the Norwegian Sea, thus opening up new opportunities in this part of the Shelf.

The companies submitted plans for development and operation (PDOs) for three new projects last year, while nine plans were approved. Seven of the plans relate to field developments linked to existing infrastructure.

“Good exploitation of infrastructure and cooperation across production licenses mean lower development costs and make it possible to develop small and medium-sized discoveries in a way that is profitable. This is becoming increasingly important as the Shelf matures.”

Reserves are resources for which development plans have been adopted. Last year, for the first time, reserve growth for oil exceeded the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s ambitious curve for reserve growth for the period 2013 – 2023. The reasons for this very positive development are that more fields are being developed and more good work is being done to improve recovery on fields in operation.

Investments on the Norwegian Shelf in 2018 were at approximately the same level as the previous year, but several of the developments that are underway, led by Johan Sverdrup and Johan Castberg, will contribute to substantial growth in 2019.

The industry has done good work on cost control and efficiency in recent years, which has led to a considerable reduction in both exploration, development and operating costs. This is important to ensure that the Norwegian Shelf is competitive and has good resource management.

“A lower cost level is also reflected in the new projects that are approved. These are projects that are profitable for both the companies and the Norwegian society. The general scenario is that the new development projects will be profitable with significantly lower oil prices than the current level,” says Nyland.

Norway Cuts 2019 Oil Output Forecast to Lowest in 30 Years

Norway’s oil regulator reduced its forecast for production this year, predicting crude output could drop to the lowest in three decades before recovering in 2020.

  • Oil output of 82.2 million cubic meters, or 1.42 million barrels a day, would be the lowest since 1988. The forecast compares to actual production of 86.2 million last year, and is down from an earlier estimate of 87.2 million.

Key Insights

  • NPD says oil output was affected by new developments becoming more complex than anticipated and that fewer than expected wells have been drilled. Director General Bente Nyland added in an interview that delays and issues on new projects in 2018 would continue to affect output this year, forcing a reduction in the production forecast.
  • The NPD expects oil companies to drill 53 exploration wells offshore Norway in 2019, unchanged from last year, as the industry recovers from a recent downturn.
  • Investments in the offshore industry are set to rise 13 percent in 2019 to more than 140 billion kroner, excluding exploration.
  • The forecasts confirm that Norway’s oil industry is in full recovery mode, thanks to higher commodity prices but also drastic cost cuts that have made more projects profitable, even considering the recent relapse in crude prices. Still, the NPD again warned that the industry faces a slowdown toward the middle of the next decade due to a lack of new, big projects.

Signing of US – Norway Bilateral Maritime Arrangement

January 9th 2019, the United States and Government of Norway signed an Arrangement which advances maritime threat response collaboration between the two nations. At a ceremony, hosted by the White House National Security Council, the Arrangement was signed by the Norwegian Defense Attaché to the US Rear Admiral Ole M. Sandquist and the Director of the U.S. Global Maritime Operational Threat Response Coordination Center, Scott Genovese.

The Arrangement provides Norway and the United States the ability to fully coordinate on emerging maritime threats affecting both nations.

The innovative Arrangement between the national level operations and coordination centers of the United States and Norway will improve the response to maritime terrorism, piracy, drug and human trafficking, maritime cyber attacks, public health threats, marine pollution, and related wide ranging Arctic challenges.

The signing of the Arrangement is important as it complements and reinforces the long-standing cooperation between our nations.Ministry of Defence