Healthcare Minister Astrid Krag Discusses Vision for the Future
From left: Dorthe Mikkelsen, MSD; Healthcare Minister Astrid Krag; Stephen Brugger, AmCham
Healthcare Minister Astrid Krag addresses the audience
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On May 2, Danish Healthcare Minister Astrid Krag met with AmCham members to discuss her vision for the Danish healthcare system. Nearly 80 business leaders gathered at the Copenhagen Marriott for this “Meet-the-Leaders” session, which was the Minister’s first opportunity to meet with the international business community.

AmCham Healthcare Committee Chair, Dorthe Mikkelsen (MSD) set the scene for the Minister by outlining the healthcare committee’s priorities, which include improving access to healthcare through public private procurement, as well as driving growth and FDI through R&D and investment in healthcare.

Minister Astrid Krag then took the podium to explain the priorities of her ministry. She presented a ‘wake up call’ for both Denmark and the healthcare industry, that although Denmark has been a world leader in healthcare technology and services compared to its size, this position is not a given. The government has set up new growth initiatives, including the Ministerial Committee for New Business and Growth, which will work across ministries, and focus on areas of Danish excellence, including healthcare, shipping, environmental /sustainable solutions and design. The Healthcare Growth committee, which includes several AmCham members, will come back with recommendations in Fall 2012.

The Minister outlined her priorities, which include: Making room for research and research based innovation by going for 'quality not quantity' in the healthcare system; breaking the ‘fear of contact' barriers, where any relationship between public healthcare providers and the healthcare industry is considered dubious-harming both the healthcare system and the industry; and working to reduce red tape in the area of research and uptake of new technologies.

‘We will need to make the most of the money spent in healthcare,’ noted the Minister, as the economic constraints and demographic challenges of today are very real. New public budgets commit the state to keeping budgets in a 4-year timeframe, which will greatly influence spending in healthcare. She noted that the companies that contribute cost effective solutions will prevail.

During the Q&A, the Minister was asked by the participants to comment on such topics as physician qualifications, public private partnerships and distribution of work between public healthcare entities. The Minister was open minded and was positive regarding future improvements.

Stephen Brugger wrapped up the talk by thanking the Minister for taking the time begin this dialogue, noting that ‘Denmark has huge potential in healthcare,’ and promised, ‘We will help you in any way we can.’

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