Arendalsuka 2019 Summary
Building the Norwegian Healthcare Industry
There are few things better than the excitement and passion of Arendalsuka, and AmCham made the trek down to southern Norway again this year to put on an exciting program of healthcare-related events featuring a diverse array of industry leaders and politicians.
Building the Norwegian Healthcare Industry and Meet Norway’s Healthcare Leaders One-on-One were held back-to-back, offering attendees an unfettered look into Norway’s healthcare industry. Well over 50 attendees joined the first session, where panelists Sveinung Stensland, Tom-Christer Nilsen, Sveinung Tornås, Ans Heirman, Atle Bergfjord, and Aksel Reksten not only discussed the challenges the industry faces in Norway, but also expanded upon how the country can unlock its potential to become a global innovation hub at the forefront of developing innovative healthcare solutions for patients around the world.
Member of Parliament Tom-Christer Nilsen kicked off the session by noting the important role the healthcare industry can play in diversifying the Norwegian economy. “We want to be California, not Klondike,” the Høyre parliamentarian noted, before going on to highlight how Norway’s unparalleled amount of healthcare data and access to the common market make it an ideal country for the industry to invest in.
Nilsen was followed by fellow Member of Parliament Sveinung Stensland. Stensland touched upon the cultural challenges surrounding the healthcare industry in Norway in his presentation, noting that healthcare is not just a public service, but a business – a business that generated over NOK 142 billion in taxable turnover in 2017.
Next up was Sveinung Tornås. Tornås, the head of innovation and e-health for Sunnaas Sykehus, highlighted how innovation occurs on the hospital side, noting how hospitals can be important conduits for innovation and how Sunnaas has worked with everyone from the world’s largest healthcare companies to small, Norway-based startups to develop patient centered healthcare solutions that improve outcomes.
“Because of Norwegian innovation, we’re making things cheaper than any other place in the word. Cheaper than either China or India. So, when I combine that with the new healthcare whitepaper, which is an excellent piece of work, I can go to my American owners and say this is where you should invest – Norway.”
After the conclusion of Stensland presentation, Bergfjord, Reksten, and Reksten joined the two parliamentarians and Tornås on stage for a panel discussion moderated by AmCham’s Katja Dahl Murphy.
MSD Managing Director Ans Heirman was the first to speak, expanding upon Stensland’s comments on Norway’s healthcare culture by noting the necessity of instilling a “culture of collaboration” that understands the value of innovation in the public procurement process.
Innovation was also on Bergfjord’s mind as well. Capgemini’s VP of the Public Sector & Healthcare noted that his over fifteen years of experience with public procurement has shown him that by rewarding innovation, Norway can combine its technological prowess with the latest medical thinking, allowing the country to “not only create a lot of value, but create a better life for people.”
GE Healthcare Managing Director Aksel Reksten followed Bergfjord, highlighting the company’s tremendous Norwegian growth in the course of the past two decades and the underscoring the importance of predictable frameworks, such as the EEA Agreement (EØS). “Because of Norwegian innovation, we’re making things cheaper than any other place in the word. Cheaper than either China or India. So, when I combine that with the new healthcare whitepaper, which is an excellent piece of work, I can go to my American owners and say this is where you should invest – Norway.”
The discussion then opened up to the audience, where attendees such as Roche Managing Director Rajji Mehdwan, AbbVie Country Lead Kirsti Nyhus, and audience members from other industries discussed with Stensland and Nilsen the importance of remaining competitive in a regional context and building a procurement process that also takes into account treatment efficacy and innovation.
After the questions concluded, our networking event Meet Norway’s Healthcare Leaders One-on-One! kicked into gear. Event attendees had the opportunity to engage healthcare leaders such as Mehdwan, Nyhus, Reksten, Bergfjord, Pfizer Medical Director Erik Hevlin, and Bristol-Myers Squibb General Manager Hilde Bech in personal, one-on-one discussions on a variety of industry issues.
We would like to thank all our panelists and sponsors for a fantastic event this year, and we look forward to working with our healthcare industry members, government officials, and politicians to make Norway’s ambitious vision for the healthcare industry a reality.
Building the Norwegian Healthcare Industry Panel Participants
Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
Head of Innovation and E-health, Sunnaas Sykehus
Managing Director, MSD Norway
Managing Director, GE Healthcare
VP – Public Sector & Healthcare, Capgemini
Meet Norway's Healthcare Leaders One-on-One Participating Healthcare Leaders
Country Lead Norway, AbbVie
General Manager, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Sector Lead – Public & Healthcare, Capgemini
General Manager, GE Healthcare.
Managing Director, MSD
Doctor & Medical Director, Pfizer
General Manager, Roche