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“Nordic countries offer unique possibilities for pharmaceutical companies”



Many bigger trends such as digitalisation, data-driven business and the ageing population are affecting healthcare and societies, but also creating new opportunities in the pharmaceutical sector. Marja Ristola, new leader of Oriola’s expert services for pharmaceutical companies, believes that Nordic countries have something unique to offer to the entire industry.

In addition to the bigger trends, in recent years there has been increasing discussion about pharmaceutical supply chains and the availability of medicines, most recently related to COVID-19 vaccine. In the global market, the Nordic countries have strengths to attract pharmaceutical companies.

First, we have highly developed healthcare systems with our national registers, biobanks and hospital data lakes offering unique opportunities for research activities. Additionally, the Nordic countries are characterised by stability and equality as well as high-level education, which makes the operating environment attractive for innovation,” says Marja Ristola, Director of Expert Services at Oriola.

She notes that it is important that Oriola can combine market-specific expertise and deep knowledge from the pharmaceutical sector to help pharmaceutical companies identify new opportunities.

“I see great potential in Oriola’s wide service portfolio, as we can support our customers throughout the pharmaceutical value chain, from clinical trials, through the regulatory approval and reimbursement processes all the way to assessing the effectiveness of pharmacotherapy. Just as an example, the growing attention on value-based healthcare will continue to increase the need for real world data, an area where Oriola has strong expertise and a demonstrated track record of partnering with key stakeholders within the healthcare sector. Additionally, as many of our customers have a Nordic organisation, we are equipped to serve them across the Nordic markets,” Ristola continues.

Working for people’s health offers a sense of purpose

Ristola is very familiar with pharmaceutical companies’ needs, as before joining Oriola, she worked for many years in the pharmaceutical company MSD in various roles. Her most recent role was Director, Oncology Country Lead, Finland and Baltics, but she also has experience from leading and developing business on a Nordic level.

The joint journey of Ristola and MSD started during her MBA studies in the US.

Personally, it is important that my work has a deeper meaning and that I can work according to my own values. Pharmaceutical sector offers the possibility to work for people’s health and make a difference societally,” Ristola notes.

Now, her perspective has changed from a pharmaceutical company to a service provider, but the same sense of purpose remains:

In this new position, I was attracted not only by the opportunities provided by the comprehensive service offering but also by the purpose and values of Oriola as a company. During these first weeks at Oriola, I have been impressed by all the expertise around me. This perfectly reflects my belief that as a team of people with diverse backgrounds, knowledge, and ideas, we can achieve far more than individually. I’m really excited to take the next steps in our expert services development together with our customers.

Photo: Amanda Aho