Denmark - Country Commercial Guide
Healthcare and Lifescience Products and Services
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  • The Danish-Swedish life science cluster ‘Medicon Valley’ is home to more than 60 percent of Scandinavia’s pharmaceutical industry.  The region hosts nine life science universities, seven science parks, 6,000 Ph.D. students, as well as 14,600 dedicated life sciences researchers. 
  • Denmark has a universal healthcare system that provides comprehensive coverage to all residents, funded primarily through general taxes.  Annually, the country spends approximately 10 percent of GDP on healthcare, amounting to just over USD 7,000 per capita. [U.S. comparison: USD 4.3 trillion/ USD 12,914 per capita].  Annual spending grew from USD 34 billion in 2019 to USD 40 billion in 2021 yet have since then normalized to USD 38.5 billion in 2022, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Danish healthcare system functions on three political and administrative levels: national, regional and local.  The Ministry of Health holds overall regulatory and supervisory responsibility, five regional authorities maintain the operations of the state-run medical facilities, hospitals, and health services provided by GPs and specialists.  Ninety-eight municipalities/local authorities oversee preventive care and rehabilitation and are responsible for nursing homes and the home care segment.  Together, the public sector is the largest purchaser of healthcare products and services in Denmark.
  • General practitioners operate as independent businesses but are reimbursed by the government.  Dentists are only partly reimbursed, and Danes pay for most dental service out of pocket.  Danish dentists generally purchase inventory at the annual SCANDEFA trade show in Copenhagen, Denmark or through three to five major wholesalers.  Dentists also actively attend tradeshows globally including Greater New York Dental Meeting - GNYDMin the United States.

Best Prospects

  • Pharmaceuticals: Denmark serves as a significant center for pharmaceutical research and development, housing prominent global players including Novo Nordisk, Lundbeck, and Leo Pharma.  Denmark has strong expertise in the areas of diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, central nervous system diseases, inflammatory diseases, and allergies.  With an industry generating nearly USD 4 billion in revenue and providing employment to over 20,000 individuals, Denmark has established itself as a prime destination for life science R&D.  This favorable ecosystem also extends a welcoming atmosphere for American enterprises seeking to collaborate and operate in the sector.
  • Medical Technology: The Danish medical technology market has grown rapidly over recent years and continues to grow 4-6 percent per year, today valued at an estimated USD 10 billion.  Denmark is a frontrunner in medical device innovation, excelling in areas such as hearing aids, pacemakers, and surgical implants.  The country invests significantly in R&D, spending over USD 1 billion in 2021, leading Scandinavia in medical devices R&D.   
  • HealthIT: The HealthIT/digital health sector in Denmark is growing rapidly.  Projections indicate that the Danish digital health market is poised to surpass USD 1 billion in value by 2025.  Local enterprises are spearheading pioneering digital health solutions, embraced by global patients and healthcare providers.  The Danish government’s supportive stance towards digital health is evident through well-crafted policies fostering an environment conducive to the development and promotion of digital health solutions by the private sector.
  • Personalized medicine: Denmark leads the charge in personalized medicine, supported by its formidable research and development capabilities, skilled workforce, and favorable regulatory environment.  The country’s steadfast commitment to progress is underscored by significant government investment in R&D, fostering the integration of personalized medicine into healthcare.  With the personalized medicine sector experiencing rapid growth and poised for continued expansion, Denmark’s recent unveiling of the Cancer Plan V, signifies a dedicated effort to widen access.  The plan aims to establish Denmark as a personalized medicine leader, an arena where multiple American life science companies based in Denmark actively participate.


  • Currently, the greatest opportunities stem from the range of services related to the construction of new hospital buildings.  Denmark will build 16 new hospitals, including 8 “super hospitals,” and with a budget of USD 7 billion, investments in the best medical technology can be expected. 
  • Clinical Trials: There are good prospects for conducting clinical trials in Denmark.  The many well-established Contract Research Organizations with expertise in setting up and conducting trials at all stages (from pre-clinical through phase III), the ample hospital capacity, and well-registered patient population ensure an excellent climate for companies wishing to engage in clinical trials. 
  • Denmark has experienced a significant uptick in recent years in preventive care and health promotion and increases in public expenditures on medical technology and digital health are evident.  As one of the most digital countries in the world, Denmark continues to advance innovative technologies and new ambitious digitalization strategies with a patient-centered approach. 

An overview of companies and organizations operating in the life sciences space can be found here.