Current Market Trends
Population: 5.5 Million
GDP*: $232.40 Billion (2015)
Language: Finnish (92%), Swedish (5.5%), Others (2.5%)
Overall social protection expenditure in Finland amounted to 31.6 percent of GDP (USD 73.56 billion) in 2015, while sickness and health sector accounted for 23 percent (USD 17 billion) of GDP in Finland (2015). Universal coverage is accessible for all citizens and permanent residents in the country, with a range of comprehensive health services delivered primarily by publicly owned and operated providers. In 2015, approximately 82 percent of services and programs within the system are funded through public expenditure. Private financing accounted for 18 percent.
Due to the demographic change in Finland and globalization of the economy, the Finnish Government is preparing a Health, Social Services and Regional Government reform that is planned to put into operation by 2019. The aim of the health care system reform is to form larger units from the service providers and to create full horizontal and vertical integration of the primary and secondary levels of services as well as of the health and social care. The reform is expected to change the traditional structure of the primary healthcare significantly.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) manages the preparation and implementation of Finland’s social welfare and healthcare policy. Additionally, they mandate and organize programs and reforms regarding healthcare provisions. The Finnish Office for Health Technology Assessment (FinOHTA), which operates under the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), is the agency responsible for providing assessments and analyses related to HealthIT. The 311 municipalities of Finland are legally obligated to provide healthcare services for their residents (i.e. primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare), as well as to collect taxes for the financing of services provided. They accomplish this through local municipal healthcare centers, or by regional healthcare districts, all containing a central hospital, of which there are 20. They can purchase services from other hospital districts, the private sector or from abroad. These districts provide secondary care specialists, who are only available through a referral from a primary provider. The population of hospital districts varies between about 44,000 and 1,580,000 inhabitants. The hospital districts are responsible for ambulance services.
Municipalities contract a small proportion of primary care to private providers; however, that proportion is expected to increase. There are about 40 private hospitals which provide approximately five percent of hospital care in Finland. Private healthcare, excluding occupational services, accounts for about six percent of total healthcare expenditure. In these districts, university hospitals in the major cities of Finland form the basis of tertiary care, and contain the most technologically advanced facilities and medical equipment in the nation. All of the levels of healthcare are funded by the municipalities, but the national government covers the cost of medical training and participates in financing by providing a general, non-earmarked, subsidy to the municipalities.
High quality and technically sophisticated medical equipment has market potential in Finland, especially equipment that increases efficiency and reduces occupancy rates in hospitals. The United States has a 28 percent share of the total market and accounts for 39.9 percent of Finland’s overall health technology exports. Finland also produces high technology medical equipment. Increasing competition in the market is expected as local production expands. Direct imports from the United States account for 8 percent. However, local production and imports usually do not compete with each other.
As a member of the EU, Finland’s local legislation concerning medical devices complies with EU directives. The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health Valvira monitors the compliance of medical devices with legislation and regulations, monitors the marketing of medical devices and promotes their safe use. More information is available here: www.valvira.fi/en/licensing/medical_devices.
See http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/medical-devices/index_en.htm for further information from the European Commission, Enterprise and Industry, Medical Devices.
Medical trade is duty-free within the European Union. Import duties are collected from production coming from non-EU countries. The amount of duty for medical equipment exported from the United States fluctuates according to a specific product, ranging from 5-12 percent.
Current Market Trends
The operating costs of Finnish hospitals have been reduced, and major hospital procurement is mainly replacing older equipment and buying some new. Investments in new medical equipment within the private health care sector are expected to continue to increase.
In 2016, Finnish exports in medical technologies grew 9.7% to approximately $2.34 billion. Exports to the United States grew strongly, up 23 percent in 2016 and accounting for 39.9 per cent of all health technology exports. Exports continued to grow faster than imports. Health technology is now Finland’s largest tech sector representing nearly half of all hi-tech exports and have increased at an average annual rate of nine percent for the last two decades.
Medical equipment is Finland’s fastest-growing hi-tech export. In 2016, exports of medical equipment grew to over 11.8% to approximately $1.49 billion. In general, the market for healthcare technology is expected to rise, but due to the upcoming healthcare reform, and the uncertainties to which it gave rise, growth in the market may slow down a little bit for the next couple of years.
Finnish hospitals are very eager to try out new technology in the implementation of most modern treatment methods. Implementation of new technologies is effective, as Finnish medical personnel are very technology literate. Local distributors provide the market with equipment packages and maintenance programs.
Finland is very advanced in its use of IT systems within the healthcare industry, relative to other European nations. According to the European Commission, Finland ranks 5th in terms of the deployment of Health IT within the EU. Individuals within the healthcare system have widespread, simple access to convenient ePrescription and eArchive services via KanTa (The Finnish Electronic Patient Record system). This allows citizens to access their medical records and to gain access to the Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS), which allows them to see and send relevant information within the healthcare system. The use of electronic patient records among the primary health centers and secondary care hospital districts is at 100 percent and mandatory to all public health care providers. Due to the continuous development of MyKanta pages, citizens’ use of e-health and e-welfare services is expected to rise rapidly in the future.
The Finnish capital Helsinki has launched another change project in the social services and healthcare field, called Apotti. The aim of the new system is to build a regionally cohesive social services and healthcare system that enables developing the operations and increasing their quality. It supports the professionals’ daily work, team work and development of operations and enables more efficient communication. The integration of information systems is unique also on an international scale and Apotti acts as the pioneer, as it provides information about the amount, quality, impact and cost/efficiency of treatment. The Apotti project concerns the Helsinki Metropolitan area.
The most recent project in the social services and healthcare field is nationwide UNA project. Its goal is the renewal of social services and healthcare information systems implemented in stages. Together with the national Kanta services, UNA will form the core of the nationwide social services and healthcare information ecosystem. The project will be executed in a close co-operation with the actors of the Health, Social Services and Regional Government reform.
Local production for medical equipment is well known for its quality and high technology. It is concentrated in specialized sectors, such as dental equipment and specialized x-ray and IVD equipment. About 90 percent of local production is exported because of the small domestic market size. It is important to note that internationally Finnish products have garnered attention as being particularly user friendly. Relative to its size, Finland has the world’s highest number of digital health startups, with over 500 companies in the field of health technology, eHealth, biotech, genomics research and big pharma. Numerous multinational companies, especially in the fields of medical equipment and in vitro diagnostics, have invested in manufacturing and R&D in Finland over the past twenty years.
Over 80 percent of the medical equipment imported to Finland comes either from or through the European Union. Direct imports from the United States account for 8 percent. Other important external supplier countries are Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and China.
High quality and technically sophisticated medical equipment has the best market potential in Finland, especially equipment that increases efficiency and reduces occupancy rates in hospitals. Products such as the following have the best sales potential in Finland:
In particular, large electromedical equipment and X-ray equipment have been in demand for export. In other segments, strong growth was also seen in smaller medical furniture and medical implants. Additionally, In-Vitro Diagnostics was considered a contributor to market growth.
The Finnish government has recognized that there is a need for a more stable synergy in regards to Health IT communications and EPR sharing between municipalities, regional districts, and private care providers. Finland has long been a Health IT forerunner with a history of user satisfaction and ease of accessibility to information. The country is continually developing and improving its nationwide electronic archive of patients’ health information (KanTa), and health-related services, such as the Electronic Prescription program. In addition, innovative and ambitious projects are in the works at the municipal, regional, and national levels, all of which are viable entry points for U.S. products and services. Another trend in the market is the Mobile health services (mHealth), which is constantly increasing and compensating services that has previously been tied to a certain infrastructure or place. As the mHealth is a rather new phenomenon in the market, a common infrastructure software is currently missing.
In the near future, the health IT and telemedicine in Finland are expected to gain even more presence because of the continuous improvement of the healthcare systems. Also, as the population ages rapidly the demand of elderly care services and products is expected to grow.
Manufacturers must include contact details and information on the products they manufacture for the product register maintained by the National Supervisory Authority of Welfare and Health registry in the case the manufacturer
Representatives established in Finland must submit the same details.
Extra notification is necessary if the medical product is high-risk and includes IVDs intended for self-testing and if the device contains substance of human origin.
To submit the notification, the party must be
Notification of the cases mentioned above must be submitted within two weeks before placement on the market. This time limit applies also to the start of importing of self-testing devices.
Products that are imported to the market need to fulfill the requirements set by legislation and that are controlled by Valvira (National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health). The manufacturer needs to give the declaration of conformity and make sure the imported products have a CE mark.
Valvira also requires the manufacturer to be able to present the necessary documents of the product and to prove that the usage corresponds with the health care industry regulations. If these requirements are not met the product cannot be imported to the Finnish market.
There are no restrictions on imports in Finland, as long as they comply with EU qualifications.
Although marketing requires thorough knowledge of end user needs, the import climate is receptive to equipment that is new and of good quality. There is keen competition in the market, however.
Procurement & Tenders
Most of the purchasing of healthcare technology and medical equipment is conducted by public purchasing. Public purchasing in Finland is usually done by national boards, agencies, centers, and offices executing charters from the central government. Hansel, Ltd. is government’s central procurement office and handles framework agreements. Finland is a party to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, which means that U.S companies can bid on an equal footing with Finnish firms when it comes to the sale of goods to specified government entities on large contracts. For more information https://www.hansel.fi/en/
HILMA is a free, electronic database for actors to announce their upcoming procurements run by the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Thus, it also offers companies the possibility to get information of the ongoing tenders. All the companies under public or governmental ownership, public authorities and the Lutheran and Orthodox Church are obligated to announce their tenders when the value exceeds a certain limit. See https://www.hankintailmoitukset.fi/fi/docs/kynnysarvot/ for more specific values (only in Finnish and Swedish).
When the tender exceeds the EU limit, it should also be announced at TED (Tenders Electronic Daily), the online version of the “Supplement to the Official Journal” of the EU, dedicated to European public procurement. Altogether 460,000 calls for tenders are published per year via TED, for value of about 420 billion euro. Every day, approximately 1,700 public procurement notices are published on the database.
Finnish Dental Congress and Exhibition, November 23-25, 2017 (Finland’s largest event for dentistry professionals):
The Finnish Medical Convention and Exhibition, January 10-12, 2018 (Finland’s largest medical exhibition)
The Finnish Healthcare Technology Association- http://teknologiateollisuus.fi/en
FiHTA Healthtech Finland- www.finnishhealthtech.fi
The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) – www.thl.fi
Association of Laboratory and Health Care Products Suppliers – SAI-LAB, www.sailab.fi
Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea- www.fimea.fi
National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health Valvira- www.valvira.fi
U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information
Name: Ms. Tiina Ketelä-Juvonen
Position: Commercial Specialist
Phone: +358 9 6162 5278
Healthcare spending (including investment)
$21.6 billion (2014)
as percent of GDP (2014)
of which spent on inpatient services (including long-term care) (2014)
of which spent on pharmaceuticals/consumables (2014)
of which spent on investments (2014)
of which spent on outpatient services (2014)
Hospitals, Procedures, Healthcare Professionals
Number of hospitals
Number of hospital beds
available beds per capita
453 per 100,00 inhabitants (2014)
of which in general hospitals (2014)
of which in specialized clinics and rehabilitation centers (2014)
Number of surgical procedures
of which Cataract surgery (2014)
968.1 per 100,000 inhabitants
of which Hip replacement (2014)
244.6 per 100,000 inhabitants
...of which surgeons
...of which internists
...of which pediatricians
Life expectancy men/women
2,5 per 1,000 live births
Percent of population older than 60
27.2 per cent (2015)
31.1 per cent
caused by diseases of the circulatory system (2014)
37 per cent
caused by neoplasms (2014)
23 per cent
Prevalence of [fastest growing disease burden] Alzheimer disease
30.3 per cent increase between 2005-2015
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