High ambitions

High ambitions

During an interview with NordForsk earlier this autumn, the Norwegian Minister of Health and Care Services, Bent Høie, shared his thoughts on a stronger Nordic research cooperation within the health care sector. Høie points particularly to the opportunities to be found in clinical and register-based research.

Clinical research is an area to which NordForsk has devoted greater investment by funding the Nordic Trial Alliance (NTA). The number of clinical trials in the Nordic countries has declined in recent years, a situation which concerns Mr Høie. 

“It is important to ensure that adequate research funding is available, but as a general rule we politicians must also stay out of decisions about which research projects receive funding. This applies at the Nordic level as well. However, I must say that the decline in clinical trials in the Nordic countries is a problem that we take seriously. It is critical that we reverse this trend, as more studies will benefit all Nordic patients by providing quicker access to new medications and treatments,” says Mr Høie. 

"For 2014, I have indicated to the Norwegian health trusts that they should support the NTA’s efforts by initiating clinical multi-centre trials through the network,” he continues. 

Positive towards a Nordic virtual centre for register-based research

Bent Høie

During the summer of 2014, the former Swedish Minister of Health Care and Social Security, Bo Könberg, submitted a report exploring ways to develop Nordic cooperation in the health care sector.

One of its recommendations focuses on a Nordic virtual centre for register-based research. Mr Könberg identifies NordForsk as a potential administrator of the centre, and Mr Høie finds both the report and the recommendation exciting. 

“The report addresses important, relevant topics which reflect Mr Könberg’s systematic work vis-à-vis the various Nordic countries. The concept of a Nordic virtual centre for register-based research is certainly intriguing and in keeping with our desire for greater cooperation on register-based research. The Nordic countries have a variety of high-quality registers that go back many decades, and these have not been sufficiently utilised in research. I hope that the Nordic health ministers view the recommendation in a positive light, as it can generate significant gains and benefit all of us.” he says. 

Read the entire interview and all of Høies thoughts and ideas for a stronger Nordic health cooperation in this year's edition of NordForsk Magazine.

Text: Tor Martin Nilsen

Photo: Terje Heiestad