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Finns value health research – the business sector’s role in research efforts requires further clarification

People in Finland consider it important that health research is conducted in Finland and that we are perceived as an internationally attractive and competitive partner. This was revealed by a citizen survey carried out in the spring. People have not yet fully recognised the role of businesses as developers of effective treatments, as only slightly more than a quarter of the respondents thought that businesses could engage in health research.


People in Finland believe that society benefits from international health research in many different ways. Nearly half of the respondents think that research gives doctors and patients access to the latest information. People also consider it important that increasing interest will lead to more funding for Finnish research.

There is also a favourable attitude towards research in Finland. Three out of four respondents feel that their health data and samples should be used as extensively as possible in the development of medical treatments.

“Finns participate in and are committed to health research, which is a significant advantage for us,” says Jaana Sinipuro, Project Director at Sitra. “Digital health information is seen as an opportunity, although there are some concerns related to data security.”

Innovation requires boundary-breaking research collaboration

People are not indifferent as to where health research is conducted. Three out of four Finns are of the opinion that health research should be carried out in research institutes or universities. Only just over a quarter of the respondents believed that businesses are the right place for health research.

“The public’s view suggests that the role of businesses in research efforts has not been fully understood,” says Sirpa Rinta, Director of Pharmaceutical Policy at Pharma Industry Finland. “Health-sector enterprises bring new technology and new innovative treatments to the field of healthcare. These innovations would not be achieved without research.”

Finnish legislation governing the use of health records is currently being reformed. The goal is to attract more health research to Finland and increase Finland’s international competitiveness.

“The legislative reforms will create a regulatory framework for research and the parties involved,” explains Pekka Kahri, Director of Information Services at the National Institute for Health and Welfare. “Co-operation between different parties is essential in today’s research environment. Our small country can only be competitive if we combine the expertise of academia, research institutes and businesses.”

Your health information and data security – should you be worried? SuomiAreena, BePOP shopping centre, Pori, 19 July 2018, 16:00–17:00. We look forward to seeing you there!

Pharma Industry Finland, the National Institute for Health and Welfare and Sitra surveyed a thousand Finns last spring regarding health research in Finland. The survey was carried out by Kantar TNS. The respondents comprised a cross-section of the Finnish population between the ages of 15 and 74. The survey’s margin of error is approximately three per cent.

Health information here refers to healthcare patient records, laboratory and imaging data, blood and tissue samples and genetic information. In addition, health information includes data generated by individuals themselves via various applications, for example, provided that such data is accessible via healthcare registers.


Further information:

Sirpa Rinta, Pharma Industry Finland, tel. +358 40 533 0666

Pekka Kahri, National Institute for Health and Welfare, tel. +358 29 524 6146

Vertti Kiukas, Soste, the Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 40 592 4287

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