Sweden is a global leader in many areas, and its innovative healthcare system emphasizes e-health and outpatient care. In a health market that demands precision, culturally sensitive translations are not just necessary – they are crucial. They must be finely tuned to the unique needs and expectations of their audience. Dive into our latest blog to discover the pivotal role that translation service providers play in enhancing communication and ensuring regulatory compliance within this dynamic environment.


The Kingdom of Sweden borders Norway to the west and north, Finland to the east, and the Öresund Bridge even provides a direct land connection to Denmark. The national territory comprises the eastern part of the Scandinavian peninsula and the islands of Gotland and Öland. It is the largest Nordic country and the fifth-largest in Europe.

Sweden’s population of just over 10.5 million enjoys robust health, with remarkably low rates of preventable deaths from lung cancer, alcohol-related problems and traffic accidents. This achievement owes much to Sweden’s stringent public health policies, which include high taxes on alcohol and tobacco. The number of deaths from treatable diseases is also relatively low, underlining the effectiveness of the healthcare system and its well-functioning mechanisms for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

This effectiveness is also reflected in Swedish life expectancy: at 83.3 years, it was one of the highest in the European Union (EU) in 2023. Following a sharp decline in the first year of the pandemic, life expectancy bounced back in 2021 and 2022, nearly returning to pre-pandemic levels. Overall, the population is getting older and older: the proportion of over-65s in 2023 was just under 21%, compared to 19% in the United Kingdom (UK), and projections suggest this trend will continue. The last two decades, however, have seen growing disparities depending on education levels.

The most common causes of death in Sweden include cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and ischemic heart disease, as well as cancer, Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Around one in six Swedes suffered from a mental illness in 2019, which is similar to the EU average and the rates found in the UK. Anxiety and depression are particularly common, with a higher prevalence among women and people in lower-income brackets.

Health market

The Swedish healthcare system is based on the principles of universal access and equality for all citizens. Predominantly funded through taxes, it allows for most medical services to be provided either free of charge or at a minimal cost.

Administration is fully decentralized, with primary and specialized care managed at the regional level by 21 regional governments (regioner). Each of the 290 municipalities oversees long-term care, including psychiatric services and elder care, facilitating a system that is finely tuned to local needs and promotes efficient resource utilization. Patient co-payments are modest at around 13%, significantly lower than the OECD average of 18%. Private health insurance plays a negligible role. The Swedish are generally quite satisfied with the system, with only about 1% reporting unmet healthcare needs.

At the heart of the medical infrastructure, office-based general practitioners serve as the initial point of contact for patients, playing an essential role in diagnostics, treatment and specialist referrals. While patients may experience waiting times for specialist consultations, the system emphasizes efficiency and patient-centered care. Over recent years, there has been a strategic shift from hospitalized services to primary care services, and home care options have been expanded. This approach has streamlined resources, resulting in a leaner infrastructure in Sweden with just 2.0 hospital beds per 1,000 inhabitants, compared to 2.4 in the UK.

The central government’s role is to set the basic framework and guidelines and determine the political agenda for healthcare system and medical care. The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), a government agency under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, collects relevant information and develops standards to ensure high-quality health and social care for the entire population.


Sweden’s healthcare market embraces advanced technologies and innovations that enhance patient care and boost efficiency. With a keen focus on digitalization, Sweden has long implemented electronic patient records and established a comprehensive digital platform that allows patients to manage prescriptions and medical appointments. Telehealth services are universally available, enhancing access to critical health data and simplifying patient management. This is especially vital in Sweden’s rural areas, where such technological advancements ensure consistent and high-quality healthcare delivery.

Sweden is also harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to refine data analysis and support diagnostic processes, aiming to improve treatment outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. With its Vision for eHealth, has set itself the ambitious goal of becoming the best in the world at using the opportunities offered by digitalization and digital health by 2025. This commitment offers promising opportunities for developers creating mobile apps and solutions for smart hospitals.

Key growth drivers are the numerous hospital projects initiated to modernize out-of-date equipment. Despite Sweden’s strong domestic medtech sector, the country still imports 73% of all its medical devices. Industry experts forecast that the Swedish medical technology market will grow by an average of 4.7% per year between 2022 and 2027, signaling a vibrant future for innovative technology.

Another key trend shaping Sweden’s healthcare landscape is the rise of personalized medicine. Investments in research and development are being ramped up to create therapies that are customized to the genetic profiles of patients. This personalized approach not only promises more effective care but also fewer side effects, a breakthrough that is especially vital in treating cancer and chronic conditions. This innovation is particularly relevant for Sweden’s aging population, addressing their expanding medical needs.

Patient orientation is also strengthened in the administrative and care processes, which is dedicated to involving patients in the decision-making process along their treatment journey. This gives patients greater control over their health data and ensures they are well-informed about their treatment options. The aim is to enhance patient education and foster greater compliance.

Legal and regulatory conditions

In Sweden, the distribution and use of medicinal products are governed by rigorous regulations focused on safety, quality, and efficacy. These crucial factors are thoroughly assessed in clinical studies and other evaluations, with the findings submitted to regulatory bodies for approval. The Medical Products Agency, Läkemedelsverket, located in Uppsala, is responsible for reviewing these submissions. It plays a critical role in regulating and monitoring the development, production and distribution of medicines, medical devices and cosmetics.

For medical devices, e.g. wound dressings, ECG machines, or health apps, manufacturers must register these products with the Medical Products Agency and obtain a CE marking through a successful conformity assessment. Once on the market, manufacturers are responsible for monitoring their products, including reporting any serious incidents or unexpected side effects to the authorities. The 21 health regions in Sweden decide on public coverage based on regional needs and budget priorities. Additionally, products used for managing chronic diseases may be included in nation-wide programs.

EU-wide and international health market

In the EU, medical devices are only permitted for sale if they carry a valid CE marking, as mentioned above. To obtain this marking, they must meet the general requirements outlined in EU regulations, including Regulation (EU) 2017/745 on medical devices, and successfully undergo the conformity procedure.

For medicinal products such as chemotherapeutics or antibiotics, manufacturers can choose between two options. They can obtain marketing authorization for the drug on a national level, in Sweden via the Läkemedelsverket. Alternatively, they can apply for marketing authorization via the centralized procedure offered by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). This provides the decisive advantage that one application is sufficient to distribute the medicine in all countries of the European Economic Area (EU, Iceland and Norway), significantly accelerating the approval process and reducing costs.


Internationalization plays a vital role in the Swedish healthcare sector. Be it medical devices, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements or lifestyle gadgets: translations and localizations make a significant contribution to their proper and effective application throughout the entire product life cycle.

Flawless translations are also indispensable for fostering seamless cooperation between business partners and institutions. They facilitate the exchange of information and promote the sharing of valuable insights, strengthening mutual trust. Research findings are spread quickly across different regions and inform the training and further education of healthcare professionals, thereby elevating the standard of medical services and ensuring wider access to quality products and services.

Savvy market players make sure their content is adapted to suit the precise purpose and intended audience. Regulatory bodies, for example, may have different requirements for approval procedures compared to a nurse undergoing further training. It is equally crucial to consider specific requirements when communicating with laypeople, including patients and their families. For instance, health app menus must be clear and comprehensible to fulfill their purpose effectively. Otherwise, they could fail to serve their intended function or, worse, lead to harm.

Experienced translators know when it is appropriate to use medical or scientific terminology and when user-friendly and straightforward language is required. They are well-educated and experienced in their field and offer linguistic and cultural sensitivity to enable accurate, nuanced communication.

The most important language in the Swedish healthcare market is the country’s official language, Swedish. There are also several recognized minority languages, including Sami, Finnish, Meänkieli (Tornedal Finnish), Romani Chib and Yiddish. English is also very common and is spoken fluently by a large proportion of the population, especially in urban areas.


Sweden is known for its economic and political stability, thriving prosperity and consistent purchasing power. Coupled with flat company hierarchies and a favorable investment climate, it presents an exciting market for British companies, especially in the field of medical technology and digital solutions. However, market access can pose challenges owing to the country’s complex, decentralized procurement structure and significant regional differences.

Expert translations can offer valuable insights into regional particularities and help overcome cultural boundaries. By fostering smooth communication with local partners and customers, they help build a stable relationship of trust. Accurate translations that meet the needs and expectations of the target audience serve as powerful tools to convince both regulatory authorities and consumers alike – a key competitive advantage in the sensitive healthcare market.



autor_eurotext_100Author: Eurotext Editorial Team

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