Top 20 Countries in Healthcare Innovation

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Top 20 Countries in Healthcare Innovation


  • PharmaShots unravels the determinants of healthcare innovation with this rigorously prepared report on the Top 20 Countries in Healthcare Innovation. A meticulous report that encompasses all the significant aspects, necessary for well-rounded and innovative growth in the healthcare industry for a country 

  • By deploying extensive market research, PharmaShots gathered, evaluated, organized, and analyzed the data to further prepare a summarized yet informative report on the countries excelling in healthcare innovation 

  • Based on our thoughtfully designed parameters, China secures the top-most position with an overall score of 39, followed by the USA and Germany with overall scores of 36 and 29, respectively


Unceasing, advanced, and on-point, innovations in the healthcare industry not only enhance better patient experience but at the same time take care of the other aspects of quality of care in health like safety, effectiveness, efficiency, and equitability, among others. Innovations and technological advances have an instrumental role to play in identifying social determinants and overcoming existing barriers. 

Our curated report on the Top 20 Innovative Countries deploys a robust methodology to screen countries based on healthcare innovations. The comprehensive parameters outline the essential aspects of healthcare provisions necessary for a well-rounded development in health and well-being. 

Our report on the Top 20 Countries in Healthcare Innovations follows a comprehensive process by evaluating 193 UN member countries. Our research analysts outlined the essential features like the number of clinical trials and number of patents registered by a country in asserting the upper hand in terms of innovation.  

PharmaShots carried out an extensive analysis to gather an overview of the number of pharma graduates and the Nobel prizes won in chemistry to validate the emphasis shown by the countries on higher education and research. In 2022, Svante Pääbo received the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for the groundbreaking success in sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences felicitated the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Stanford University, Morten Meldal, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; and K. Barry Sharpless, Scripps Research, for the exceptional work in the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry.  

PharmaShots’ went through an extensive analysis in screening and organizing countries, based on population, their GDPs, and R&D expenditure allocated to the healthcare sector. Moreover, our research analysts listed out countries, based on major healthcare updates to sort countries based on parameters like flexibility, and willingness to transform when exposed to new technologies. 


1. Quantitative Analysis: The very first category revolves around some elemental parameters that can largely be analyzed by numbers. A country with a considerable number of doctors and nurses does exceptionally well in the healthcare sector. To make our report conducive to innovation we have incorporated an important element, i.e., the number of published pieces of literature. 

  • Number of Doctors:  Countries with a sizable doctor population tend to make significant contributions in several domains of the healthcare sector. Moreover, with a large population of healthcare providers, there is an even patient-to-doctor ratio, allowing more doctors to take charge of patient care  
  • Number of Nurses:  Nurses indubitably play a crucial role in providing care to patients in the healthcare industry. Countries with large nurse populations seemingly do well in providing accessibility to healthcare provisions by strengthening dependability   
  • Published Literature: Published literature highlights and covers an important aspect in identifying the intellectual and moral compass of a country. Countries with considerable published works of literature in the healthcare industry tend to be more open to technological advances and innovation  

2. Qualitative Analysis: Navigating the quintessential aspects of the healthcare sector, the qualitative analysis of healthcare innovations outlines the very foundation of the healthcare innovations, including the number of novel drugs approved, the number of clinical trials initiated, and the number of healthcare patents registered. Let us unveil each aspect individually to get a lucid explanation.

  • Novel Drugs Approved: An important parameter to assess the healthcare innovations of a country, new drug approvals highlight the risk-taking capacity of drug manufacturing companies and government support initiative plans for pharma companies. It also comments on the availability and accessibility of a particular drug in the country post-approval  
  • Clinical Trials Initiated:  The number of clinical trials initiated in a country helps outline its readiness to incorporate advanced research and development practices in search of innovative drugs  
  • Number of Healthcare Patents:  More, the healthcare patents, more, is the exposure to new-age technologies, eventually leading to an enriched healthcare facility in the country  

3. Resource Allocation: While exploring the monetary aspects of healthcare innovations, we incorporated two significant elements that strengthen the core of innovation in a country into our report, one being expenditure on research and development and the next one being the funds allocated to the healthcare sector from the country’s GDP. To make our report digestible, we have merged these two aspects of resource allocation into one. 

4. Healthcare funds or R&D Expenditure: Here, the parameter focuses on the resources allocated to the manufacturing companies from investors, government-aided policies, and venture capital firms. The countries with sufficient funds allocated to drug manufacturing companies do exceptionally well in healthcare innovation.  


20. Slovakia

Slovakia has received an overall score of 18, placing it in 20th place. The nation has performed exceptionally well in terms of new drug approvals and the initiation of clinical trials, although lacking in many other areas connected to healthcare innovation, such as healthcare funds and the number of healthcare patents. The lack of patient-centered treatment in the country has been linked to poor health outcomes, with inadequate medical infrastructure being a major contributing factor.  


19. Canada

The number of literatures published in Canada along with the approvals granted in the year 2022 has positioned Canada in the 19th spot amongst the innovative countries. Canada is at the forefront in terms of patient-centred care, infrastructure, and measures for preventable diseases. The aspects holding the country back include its healthcare spending, fiscal sustainability, and choice to care. The nation held a significant spot in terms of science, technology, and medical advancements. 18 was marked as the overall score for Canada.  


18. Belgium

With fiscal sustainability as one of its assets, Belgium bags the 18th position in the healthcare index. Belgium has earned 18 marks in terms of the scoring. The country also holds a great future in terms of science and technology with promising medical advancements and scientific discoveries. Moreover, Belgium still lacks in providing patient-centred care and medical infrastructure. There are a huge number of new drugs being approved across the nation, but the availability of those drugs still requires more attention.  


17. United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates scored a total of 19 on the scoring card and was ranked 17th among the countries in healthcare innovation. Investments made in the country's healthcare funds and the number of clinical trials were the highest-scoring dimensions. In terms of providing patient-centered care and science and technology, the country has performed moderately. UAE still lacks in affordability of health insurance and access to new therapies. On the other hand, the country has performed exceptionally well in terms of fiscal sustainability as the country highly invests in its healthcare sector to attract foreign medical investment 


16. Russia

Russia ranked 16th among the countries with the most innovative healthcare system with a total score of 19. The high number of nurses, doctors, and clinical trials initiated are the highest-scoring parameters for the country. In the parameter attributed to science and technology, Russia scored moderately with an average number of healthcare patents but a low number of new drug approvals, literature published, and poor healthcare funding leading to a lower ranking. Russia has an extensive network of healthcare infrastructure in need of upgradation through healthcare funding.  


15. Poland

Holding the 15th position amongst the countries leading in innovation, Poland generated 21 numbers in the scoring card. The country gained the highest score in the new drug approval dimension. Its investment in the healthcare fund is moderate while the country lacks in providing patient-centered care, medical infrastructure, and measures for preventable diseases. Poland has a comparably lower number of primary care physicians and nurses thereby the wait time for specialty care is unsatisfactory. Moreover, the country requires more efforts towards the development of medical and scientific innovation.  


14. India

India with a total score of 21 ranked 14th among the countries leading in healthcare innovation. The top contributing parameters for this score are high number of doctors, nurses, and literature published which leads to a high medical tourism in the country. Low number of clinical trials and new drug approvals are moderate as compared to other countries leaving a scope for improvement. The major setbacks for India in becoming an innovative healthcare country are poor healthcare infrastructure, quality, and access to healthcare which is in dire need of major improvement in healthcare funding to sustain its huge population and reduce high out of pocket expenses. 


13. France

France, a country having a universal health care system majorly financed by the government and privately supplemented by private insurer got a score of 21 out of 45. The major contributor to the score is the good healthcare funding and new drug approvals in the country. In terms of patient-centered care, France performed moderately compared to other countries with a lesser number of doctors and nurses. To improve its position further among healthcare innovative countries, France needs to improve new clinical trial initiations and healthcare patent filings through digitalization along with improving its lower fiscal sustainability. 


12. Australia

Australia holds 12th rank among the healthcare innovative countries with both public and private systems supplementing each other through doctors, nurses, and healthcare patent publications. With an overall score of 21, Australia lacked in parameters including, science and technology with a lower number of clinical trials, and new drug approvals in the country. In terms of patient-centricity, quality, and choices, the public sector provides options to the population but also leads to an increased healthcare cost which could cause moderate sustainability in the future. 


11. Sweden

Sweden ranked 11th with excellent scores in the parameters of science and technology provided by a high number of new drug approvals and clinical trials supported by big pharmaceutical companies. With a moderate level of nurses, doctors, and infrastructure supplemented by average healthcare funding, Sweden ranked better in sustainability but also made patient centricity, quality, and accessibility a reason for concern. With a score of 22 Sweden holds a strong public, decentralized, and innovative healthcare system. 


10. Netherlands

The Netherlands with a high number of new drug approvals ranked 10th in the healthcare innovation ranking. A comparably higher number of doctors, nurses, and healthcare funding supplemented through private providers gave the Netherlands a moderate sustainability and patient centricity. The lower number of healthcare patents in the Netherlands is one of the major reasons for its lower ranking with a total score of 22 among the healthcare innovative countries. 



Holding the 9th position on the list of top innovative countries, Taiwan scored a total of 23 points. Taiwan has scored the best in the number of clinical trials initiated and the number of healthcare patents filed in the year 2022. The country contains a moderate number of nurses and doctors thereby being able to provide exceptional patient-centered care. It has also performed moderately well in terms of providing medical infrastructure and measures for preventable diseases. The area in which the country lacks is science and technology despite being at the forefront of technological advancement. This could have been led by the lack of investment in pharmaceutical and medical equipment development. Currently, Taiwan is fiscally sustained but still has great potential to improve its investment in healthcare funds.  


8. Italy

In the global healthcare index, Italy has ranked 8th in position with a total score of 24 points. Italy has scored the best in the criteria depicting new drugs being approved across the country. With a low healthcare cost rate among the other European countries and with a massive number of drugs being approved in the country, Italy still lacks in providing new therapies to patients. Moreover, due to the moderate number of doctors and nurses registered in the country, patient-centered care has been compromised but is still exceptional among the other countries. On the other hand, the nation’s investment in healthcare and fiscal sustainability has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the repercussions of the global recession.


7. United Kingdom

Ranked in the 7th spot, the United Kingdom has summed up with a total score of 25 points. The majority of the points were contributed from the criteria including healthcare funds, new drug approval, and the number of literatures published. Moreover, the number of doctors or nurses registered in the United Kingdom was depicted as moderate leading to moderate patient-centered care provided across the country. The country also has the potential to provide measures of preventable disease and medical infrastructure. The United Kingdom spends a great deal on its healthcare fund but still lacks fiscal sustainability because of its high debt-to-GDP ratio and high public health spending.  


6. Japan

With a total score of 25 on the scoring card, Japan has marked the 6th position among the most innovative countries in the world. The number of healthcare patents, the number of doctors and nurses, along with the number of literatures published have driven the country’s healthcare performance in the year 2022. Japan lacks in its fiscal sustainability for which a major reason could be the country’s aging population and low economic growth. The country has performed well in terms of providing patient-centered care, medical infrastructure, and measures of preventable diseases.  


5. Spain

Holding the 5th position among the countries leading in healthcare innovation, Spain has depicted an exceptional performance in most of the dimensions. The country has summed up to a total of 27 scores in the scoring card. The number of new drugs being approved in the country, clinical trials being initiated, and the number of doctors or nurses have added a major amount to its overall score. The dimension that Spain lacked was the number of patents being filed. The amount being invested in the country's healthcare system and the number of literatures published in the year 2022 performed moderately well. Even though the country has led in the dimension of new drugs approved, there remains a restriction for patients to access new therapies.  


4. South Korea

South Korea has been ranked in the 4th position with a total score of 27 among the leading innovative countries. The country has marked its spot among the top 5 leading innovative countries due to the higher number of patents filed and a greater number of clinical trials initiated in the year 2022. In terms of the country’s spending on healthcare funds and the number of doctors or nurses, South Korea has depicted a moderate performance as compared to other nations. Moreover, the country’s fiscal sustainability was also marked to be an asset due to its strong economy. South Korea lacks in the criteria depicting new drug approvals and the number of literatures being published.  



With a well-structured and stable healthcare system, Germany has been positioned 3rd among the countries leading in healthcare innovation with an overall score of 29. The nation has performed exceptionally in most of the criteria with healthcare funds, new drug approval, and the number of literatures published contributing the greatest amount to the country’s overall scoring. Germany has invested a great deal in its healthcare system and has also proven to have a great potential for fiscal sustainability led by the country’s low public health spending due to the private health insurance system. The nation requires more attention to the healthcare patents being filed and the number of clinical trial initiations.  


2. United States

The United States holds the 2nd spot amongst the leading innovative countries with a total score of 36 points. For most of the criteria, the United States has depicted a great performance as compared to the other nations. The nation is at the forefront of science and technology because of its well-known research universities and biotech industry. Despite significant investments in the healthcare sector, the nation struggles to preserve fiscal sustainability because of excessive government health spending and high healthcare costs. The United States has been able to provide a moderate amount of patient-centered care, medical infrastructure, and measures for disease prevention. 


1. China

Holding the 1st position among the countries leading in healthcare innovation is China with a total score of 39. China excels in most of the aspects of healthcare innovation but lacks in the number of clinical trials being initiated in the country (or this could be due to lack of data availability from the country). Over the past years, China has been increasing the amount invested in its healthcare funds due to its aging and growing population. To maintain fiscal sustainability, the country has been indulged in more public or private partnerships to involve the private sector in healthcare. The country is also implementing policy reforms to keep its healthcare system up to date with the growing population. Moreover, the areas in which China lacks include intellectual property protection, innovation quality, and global collaboration among others.  


  • The number of patents was extracted on 19th Jul 2023 

  • The trials include industrial and interventional trials

  • The industrial trials include recruiting; not yet recruiting; active, not recruiting, and enrolling by invitation  

  • The number of trials was extracted on 18th Sep 2023 

  • The number of literature published was extracted on 19th Jul 2023 

Currency Conversion: X-Rates (30th Oct 2023) 


  • Annual Reports

  • Government Websites 

  • US FDA

  • EMA 

  • ClinicalTrials.gov 

  • Google Patents 

  • PubMed 

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