Sweden’s healthcare system is one of the most well-developed in the world. Sweden spends about 11,3 percent of its GDP (2021) on health and medical services, which is on par with most other European countries. Healthcare spending per capita is high in Sweden, around $6,400 (OECD, 2022). The infant mortality rate is low, around two deaths per 1,000 in the first year of life, and the average life expectancy is 81 years for men and 85 years for women.
The Swedish health care system is decentralized. Three political and administrative bodies share the responsibility for health care in Sweden: the central government, the regions, and the municipalities. The 21 regions have the responsibility to provide health and medical services and to promote a good standard of health among the population. The regions decide on the allocation of resources to the health services and are responsible for the overall planning of the services offered. The regions own and operate the hospitals, health centers, and other institutions. The 290 municipalities are responsible for operating the nursing homes, as well as providing care to the elderly and the disabled. Sixteen percent of total health care costs are sub-contracted to private health care providers, primary care centers and homes for the elderly. Sweden has 80 hospitals, eight of which are regional hospitals offering highly specialized care and where most teaching and research is based. There are a few hospitals that are managed by private entrepreneurs.
In 2023, Newsweek magazine included five Swedish hospitals in their top 250 best hospitals in the world ranking: Karolinska Hospital (No. 6), Sahlgrenska Hospital (No. 84), Akademiska Hospital (No. 85), Skane University Hospital (No. 159), Linkoping University Hospital (No. 176) and Norrlands University Hospital (No. 194).
According to Fitch Solutions, the Swedish market for medical equipment was estimated at $2.7 billion in 2022, with the Covid-19 pandemic boosting the need for consumables, patient aids and diagnostic imaging equipment. The United States is the sixth most important supplier of medical devices. Other major players include the Netherlands and Germany.
U.S. firms interested in entering the Swedish market will find that the market is competitive and, therefore, should establish a local presence, either through local agents and distributors or sales subsidiaries.
• Home healthcare – equipment and supplies
• Orthopedic and prosthetic equipment
• Non-invasive surgical equipment
The local healthcare industry is receptive to innovative technologies effective at treating and mitigating chronic and age-related diseases. There is an ongoing, strong demand for diabetes products, orthopedic and implantable devices, minimally-/non-invasive equipment, and user-friendly home care devices.
An aging population is fueling demand for healthcare services, which is an opportunity for U.S. companies. In 2022, 20.4 percent of Sweden’s population was 65 or older. This is up from 13.7 percent in 1970. The expanding elderly population is one of the growth drivers in the market. This, alongside the rise of chronic disease, the increased focus on preventive care, and the desire to remain a leader in technological innovation, are opportunities within this market sector. Artificial intelligence (AI) is on the rise and a newly established AI Innovation Centre will drive the development of the Swedish AI ecosystem, including the use of AI in healthcare.
National Agency for Public Procurement
National Board of Health and Welfare
Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions
Local Commercial Specialist: Johan Bjorkman, Johan.Bjorkman@trade.gov