The life science strategy – what the industry wants

The process of updating the national life science strategy has begun at the government’s life science office. According to industry stakeholders, Sweden’s competitiveness, the accessibility of health data and the integration of innovation in healthcare are some of the points that are essential to review.

“Sweden must be a leading life science nation” was the ambition when the government launched a national strategy for life science in 2019. The strategy is structured around eight prioritised areas, each with several objectives. Now, five years later, the strategy is being updated – a process that was initiated at the end of last year.

Lif – the research-based pharmaceutical companies and Swedish Medtech were among those who were given the opportunity to participate and express their opinions at a hearing at the Government Offices of Sweden in December last year to discuss the upcoming update of the life science strategy.

“It is fantastic that Sweden has taken the initiative to create a strategy and that they are working actively on it. In principle, we think the existing strategy is fine, but we see some areas that need to be developed,” says Anna Lefevre Skjöldebrand, CEO of Swedish Medtech.

She points to three issues that the industry organisation considers particularly important: the development of collaboration between industry and healthcare, improved opportunities for secondary use of health data, and the importance of generating evidence.

“If you look at procurement today, the healthcare sector demands ever more evidence in order to procure a product. There is nothing wrong with that, but while demanding this evidence, they are increasingly unwilling to participate in generating the required evidence. Swedish healthcare can’t just consume; it must also participate in producing evidence.”

Anna Lefevre Skjöldebrand considers collaboration between industry and healthcare to be of particularly high priority.

The health sector must be an active partner for companies to help develop and test new solutions

“The health sector must be an active partner for companies to help develop and test new solutions, which is essential if we want to have good products down the line.”

For Lif - The research-based pharmaceutical companies, the most important issue is to boost Sweden’s competitiveness in life science.

“The framework conditions for life science in Sweden must be improved for both patients and companies, which is an issue that is largely governed by the EU,” says Frida Lundmark, policy expert at Lif.

In her opinion, it is of utmost importance for the government to take a clear position in the EU on innovation and data protection to improve competitiveness at both EU and national levels.

According to Lif, more focus is needed on health data, national coordination for precision medicine and the implementation of new innovations in healthcare in the form of new medicines.

“We need a modern pharmaceutical system that ensures that the investments made in research and innovation are carried right through to patients, thereby creating benefits for individuals and society,” says Frida Lundmark.

Overall, she believes the strategy must take a holistic approach across the entire field.

“In general, we need a life science strategy that bridges the entire system. It is a huge area that spans from early basic research all the way to innovation, development, implementation and competitiveness issues.”

Prioritized areas in the current Swedish life science strategy

  • Structures for collaboration
  • Unlocking the potential of health data for use in research and innovation
  • Responsible, secure and ethical policy development
  • Integration of research and innovation into care delivery
  • Assistive technologies for increased independence, participation and health
  • Research and infrastructure
  • Skills supply, talent attraction and lifelong learning
  • International attractiveness and competitiveness

Source: Government Offices of Sweden

Source: Government Offices of Sweden

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