This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 7/22/2019


Norway spends more of its GDP (10.5%) on healthcare than any other country in the world, except the United States and Switzerland.  That amounts to USD 38.4 billion in total, or USD 7,300 per citizen per annum in 2016.  The state-dominated medical system, covering 85% of total healthcare costs, is striving for technological advances and organizational improvements in a climate of budget constraints, a rise in chronic disease and an aging population.

The health and social welfare system in Norway is predominantly publicly financed, primarily through a national insurance tax.  The national insurance, or social security, is a collective insurance plan to which all in Norway belong.  Citizens requiring medical treatment in Norway are guaranteed medical care and user fees are limited – no one pays more than about USD 150 per year for public health services.

Estimates from the public health authorities and trade associations indicate that the total Norwegian market for medical and dental equipment and supplies is over USD 2 billion.  Public health care authorities are estimated to account for about 90% of the purchases of medical equipment, whereas private (non-publicly funded) purchases account for the remaining 10%.  About half of the medical equipment is sold to hospitals.

The Norwegian pharmaceuticals market is estimated at USD 2.8 billion, including value added tax (PRP - pharmacy retail price).  The modest growth in recent years is attributed to the government’s restrictive policy in fixing prices and reimbursement, and the patent expiry of several high turnover brands.  The generic pharmaceuticals market has grown significant in recent years and accounts for 49% of the market, and with the introduction of the “step price scheme,” aimed at further reducing the price of generic medicines, this is a trend set to continue.


With a rapidly aging population, an increase in chronic disease and increasing healthcare costs, the Norwegian government has stated that telemedicine, e-health and welfare technology are national priorities as they are very important tools in the successful implementation of the key Integrated Health Care Reform of 2012.  The authorities are implementing electronic patient journals/EPJ’s, and have successfully launched e-prescriptions, a national health portal where citizens will be able to have access to their digital health information.  Telemedicine is seen as an important part of future acute medical care, radiology (work-sharing among hospitals) with specialist consultations within the ear-nose-throat field (video conferencing); specialist consultations in dermatology (e.g. video conferencing and still picture technology); and cardiography (e.g. heart rhythm/sound comparisons).  Also, clinical information systems, home care and personalized health systems, services for remote patient monitoring, systems for integrating local-, regional-, and national health information networks, represent significant potential for U.S. companies.  However, there are some barriers to entry, such as a requirement for local language, privacy and data protection concerns, standardization and interoperability issues, and reimbursement issues.

U.S. companies are estimated to supply around 30% of Norwegian purchases of medical equipment.  High end, quality products and a tailored marketing approach are key factors for U.S. companies in penetrating the Norwegian market.  The perceived reliability and quality of a product, together with information received from health care providers and from relevant certifying bodies and professional associations in Norway constitute the most significant factors in a purchasing decision for Norwegian buyers and end-users of medical equipment.  Due to very limited domestic production, Norway relies heavily on imports of medical equipment and increases in market demand are likely to be met by imports. 

Equipment to be sold in Norway must be registered with the Norwegian Directorate of Health, and must have EU approval (CE Mark)  Norway participates in the EU internal market through the EEA Agreement (European Economic Area), and has the same rights and obligations as EU member states in regulation of medical devices.  Norway applies EU product requirements, methods of conformity assessment, and duty rates for U.S. imports.

Norway spends an estimated USD 7 billion annually on its hospitals, and there is an attractive market for innovative, high quality medical and dental equipment.  A further USD 2.5 billion has been earmarked for the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services for upgrading hospital and/or building new hospital facilities. 

Large public tenders are to be found at the Norwegian website and the Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) database where tenders that are covered by EU public procurement law have to be published.  A tender’s database has been developed by the U.S. mission to the EU, featuring all European public procurement tenders that are open to U.S.– based companies since the European Communities is a party to the GPA. 

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Norway Healthcare Trade Development and Promotion