Tag Archives: Healthcare

The Value of Confidentiality

The Value of Confidentiality

A recent court ruling raises the question of confidentiality in Norway’s public procurement processes.

The Norwegian State procures goods and services in excess of NOK 600B per year. Most procurements are organized through competitive bids. The value of bid confidentiality thus becomes evident. Competition amongst bidders, for example on net price for a product or service, is meant to secure better value for taxpayer money in the short term. In the long run, competition drives innovation, access, and quality improvements.

The laws and regulations governing competition, trade secrets and confidentiality are somewhat similar throughout the European Economic Area. Therefore, a December 2022 Norwegian District Court ruling has gained attention well beyond Norway’s borders – where two US pharma companies lost a preliminary injunction plea to stop a tender bid issued by the hospital procurement agency LIS after several confidential net pricing leak incidents. While the Public Procurement Complaints Board (KOFA) stated that leaking of confidential net prices ruined the competition to the extent that the tender had to be cancelled, the District Court ruled otherwise. The ruling is one of very few, if not the only, examples in Europe where leaks of confidential net prices have had no consequences. Further, the ruling may have left industry with no legal recourse by establishing precedent on allowing de facto net price transparency despite legislation explicitly protecting such confidentiality.

"The ruling is one of very few, if not the only, examples in Europe where leaks of confidential net prices had no consequences."

The real question is to what extent this ruling has consequences across industries supplying the Norwegian State? One legal assessment argues that net prices may now be made public at the discretion of the State procurement body. It is also argued that, in the way the ruling is framed, suppliers who have been subjected to breach of net price confidentiality may hereafter have no legal recourse. If this holds true, no industry or supplier can be guaranteed confidentiality of their net prices. If the supplier operates in several markets, the ramifications of net price leaks in Norway may have far-reaching consequences.

Norway has ambitious plans to attract foreign investments and build industries to increase mainland exports by 50% by the end of this decade. However, the signals now being sent may not incentivize investments. While transparency is an obvious basis for any healthy business environment, confidentiality of key competitive assets in public procurement processes are equally as important. If not upheld, the State may risk not being offered the best prices on goods and services for fear of the prices not being kept confidential. 

"The real question is to what extent this ruling has consequences across industries supplying the Norwegian State?"

Debates and political statements indicate that the matter of price confidentiality seems to be ideologically driven. Former Norwegian Competition Authority Chief Economist Kurt R. Brekke has commented that while deciding on net price transparency is a political choice, patients benefit when net prices are kept confidential. He pointed out better prices, faster access, and healthier competition between bidders as factors for why this is the case.

Currently, there is a growing concern that Norway is on its way to becoming a less regulated market. This time it was pharmaceuticals, but this is only one of many industries supplying the State. If this is contrary to what the Government wants to achieve, the business community needs tangible assurances that net prices and other trade secrets will be kept confidential in the future – and that breaches will have legal consequences. At the end of the day, this is about securing suppliers’ ability to provide the State with the best prices possible.

Dr Muhammed “Mo” Ali
Managing Director, MSD Norway AS
Member of the Board, AmCham Norway

Arendalsuka 2019 Summary

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.”

Aksel Reksten

GE Healthcare

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 MehdwanAbbVie 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

Sveinung Stensland

Tom-Christer Nilsen

Sveinung Tornås

Member of Parliament

Member of Parliament

Head of Innovation and E-health, Sunnaas Sykehus

Ans Heirman

Aksel Reksten

Atle Bergfjord

Managing Director, MSD Norway

Managing Director, GE Healthcare

VP – Public Sector & Healthcare, Capgemini

Meet Norway's Healthcare Leaders One-on-One Participating Healthcare Leaders

Kirsti Nyhus

Hilde Bech

Atle Bergfjord

Aksel Reksten

Country Lead Norway, AbbVie

General Manager, Bristol-Myers Squibb

Sector Lead – Public & Healthcare, Capgemini

General Manager, GE Healthcare.

Ans Heirman

Erik Hjelvin

Rajji Mehdwan

Managing Director, MSD

Doctor & Medical Director, Pfizer

General Manager, Roche

Arendalsuka Program Sponsors

Government: Norway joins European collaboration for cross-border access to genomic data

Norway now joins an ambitious and extensive genomics collaboration with other European countries. The collaboration will benefit Norwegian research, Norwegian health care and Norwegian patients.

The goal of this European collaboration is to improve the research quality. The data can contribute to better prevention, earlier and easier diagnostics, less side effects and more precise prognosis through personalized medicine. 

– There is a huge potential for knowledge and medical treatment in genomics. Health care personnel in Norway need access to international databases with genetic information in order to offer the best possible diagnostics and treatments. By entering into this collaboration, Norwegian experts will be able to contribute to the development of these databases, says Minister of Health Bent Høie.  

Read entire article HERE.