15 Most Advanced Countries in Medicine

In this article, we take a look at the 15 most advanced countries in medicine. You can skip our detailed analysis of the healthcare industry and go directly to 5 Most Advanced Countries in Medicine

The recent pandemic was the best reflection of the advancements in the field of medicine. Vaccines were developed at a lightning-fast pace, with the first vaccine for Covid-19 approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) only a year after the outbreak. 

It was developed by a joint effort of two of the most advanced pharmaceutical companies when it comes to R&D - Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX). The former is an American company while the latter is German.

Other top pharma companies include names like Cigna Corporation (NYSE:CI), Sanofi (NASDAQ:SNY), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:REGN) and Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN).

Due to the medicine industry’s role in the improvement of human well-being, it leads to GDP growth through labor productivity and personal spending. The correlation coefficients for this are demonstrable.  

The US, Switzerland and Norway are some of the most advanced countries when it comes to the field of medicine, with huge healthcare spending, numerous pharmaceutical companies and sophisticated academia.


Medicine is one of the fastest growing fields in the world. It encompasses the pharmaceutical industry, medical schools and hospitals. The demand for healthcare is expected to increase due to a variety of factors, such as an aging population and advances in medical technology. 

According to the Pharma Outlook 2030 by KPMG, many trends are shaping the pharma industry for 2030. For instance, the free-for-service payment model is increasingly being challenged by the end-users, hospitals and insurance agencies. They want the pricing model to be designed around the success and the quality of the product. 

One of the most prominent results of this is Cigna Corporation (NYSE:CI)’s 2016 value-based contracts with Sanofi (NASDAQ:SNY), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:REGN) and Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) for cholesterol drugs, with the insurance agencies receiving discounts if their therapies do not reduce cholesterol levels enough. 

Advances in big data and machine learning are also likely to allow for the pre-emptive measures against the onset of diseases instead of just treating them. Further, machine learning is also set to play a pivotal role in drug discovery.

A recent example is the AlphaFold, a deep learning model by Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s subsidiary - DeepMind. It has solved 98.5% of human proteins’ structures, an important leap in drug discovery. Priorly, it had been a challenge that had puzzled molecular biologists for half a century. 

Major advances are primarily happening on the academic front of medicine, and AI in the field is pervasive. For instance, Harvard University researchers have come up with an automated cancer detection system, which uses AI to find breast cancer by examining lymph node cells. 

Given the trends, AI is largely going to be an integral field to medicine. Another field that is likely to augment the pharma industry by 2030 is nanotechnology. In this regard, Novartis, in partnership with Proteus, has developed a smart pill that can be swallowed for diagnostics purposes. 

The pharmaceutical manufacturing market is one of the fastest growing in the world. It was worth $358 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach a valuation of $1.2 trillion by 2030, growing at a solid CAGR of 13%, as reported by Precedence Research.

On the other hand, the drug-discovery industry was valued at $75 billion in 2021, and is projected to grow with a CAGR of 9%, to $162 billion in 2030.

Lastly, the hospital industry is projected to be valued at $2 trillion by 2028, after a growth with a CAGR of 12.5% during the forecast period of 2021-2028. It was valued at $820 billion in 2021.

Let’s now move to the 15 most advanced countries in medicine. 

15 Most Advanced Countries in Medicine
15 Most Advanced Countries in Medicine

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Our Methodology 

For our list of the most advanced nations in medicine, we’ve ranked them based on three reports. These are the following - Legatum Prosperity Index, 2021, Countries’ Citations in Clinical Medicine, by Institute of Scientific Information, and the CEO-World report of the countries with the best healthcare systems in 2021. 

Legatum Prosperity Index’s health ‘pillar’ measures the extent to which people have access to essential and advanced healthcare services. The Institute of Scientific Information report, on the other hand, is about the number of citations per paper for countries in the field of clinical medicine. 

Lastly, the CEO-World report is based on a statistical analysis that accounted for factors such as healthcare infrastructure, government readiness, healthcare professionals and quality of medicine among others. 

We’ve averaged out the rankings for the top countries in the three reports. We haven’t considered the countries that did not appear in more than one report. The data for healthcare spending and physicians per 1,000 people in our listed countries comes from the World Bank.

Here are the 15 most advanced countries in medicine:

15. United States

Health Care Index: 45.62


Citations Per Paper: 13.50


Legatum-Prosperity Health Score: 221.85

The United States is the biggest economy, as well as the most technologically advanced country in the world. When it comes to the academic field of clinical medicine, it is the number one country in terms of average number of citations per paper. 

Its Harvard Medical School, Stanford University and John Hopkins University are some of the top institutes engaged in cutting-edge research, including, in the medicinal field. 

On the corporate front, the US is home to some of the most advanced pharma corporations in the world. These include Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), Cigna Corporation (NYSE:CI), Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:REGN). The country’s top hospital companies include HCA Healthcare and Tenet Healthcare Corporation. In 2019, the US spent 17% of its GDP on healthcare.

14. Austria

Health Care Index: 71.32


Citations Per Paper: 8.39


Legatum-Prosperity Health Score: 238.94

Austria is above average in the EU when it comes to advancement in medicine. It has 5 doctors per 1,000 people and its healthcare spending as a share of its GDP was 10.43% in 2019.

13. France

Health Care Index: 65.38


Citations Per Paper: 8.64


Legatum-Prosperity Health Score: 241.49

France is one of the most prominent countries in Europe. The country has a robust healthcare infrastructure in place for its citizens. In the year 2019, France spent 11.06% of its GDP in healthcare, including medical research & development.

12. Australia

Health Care Index: 67.99


Citations Per Paper: 9.85


Legatum-Prosperity Health Score: 240.56

Australia is one of the most advanced countries in medicine and healthcare. In 2019, the country spent 9.91% of its GDP on healthcare. It is home to some of the biggest hospital companies including Sonic Healthcare Limited and Ramsay Healthcare Limited. Australia’s Translational Research Institute is among the top medical research institutes in the world.

11. Belgium

Health Care Index: 64.63


Citations Per Paper: 11.56


Legatum-Prosperity Health Score: 241.72

Belgium is located in Northwestern Europe. It spent 10.66% of its GDP in 2019 on the healthcare sector. In the same year, there were six doctors available in the country for every 1,000 Belgian citizens. 

Belgium's corporate health-sector comprises companies like Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is headquartered in Beerse, and owned by Johnson & Johnson. With regard to R&D in medicine, its universities like Ghent University and Catholic University of Leuven stand out.

10. Sweden

Health Care Index: 46.24


Citations Per Paper: 11.78


Legatum-Prosperity Health Score: 246.23

Sweden is located in the Scandinavian region of Europe. The share of healthcare spending as a percentage of Sweden’s GDP was 10.87% in 2019. There are four doctors for every 1,000 citizens in the country. Its top research institutes in medicine include Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University. On the corporate end, the country has such companies as AstraZeneca.

9. Israel

Health Care Index: 50.15


Citations Per Paper: 8.14


Legatum-Prosperity Health Score: 248.53

Israel is one of the most advanced countries in medicine. The percentage of healthcare spending in its 2019 GDP was 7.46%, and the country had six doctors for every 1,000 of its citizens. 

Its Tel Aviv University and Weizmann Institute of Science are two of the top research universities in the country for medicine. Israel leads research and development in the field of bioconvergence.

8. Switzerland

Health Care Index: 52.25


Citations Per Paper: 11.51


Legatum-Prosperity Health Score: 244.48

Switzerland is one of the most advanced countries in medicine in Europe. Its University of Bern and University of Zurich are two of the institutes at the frontier when it comes to medical research and schooling. The country is also home to Novartis, one of the leading pharma corporations in the world.

7. Finland

Health Care Index: 59.6


Citations Per Paper: 12.62


Legatum-Prosperity Health Score: 244.23

Finland is another Scandinavian country on the list of most advanced countries in medicine. Its University of Helsinki and University of Turku are the two leading institutes for research & development, including in the field of medicine. In 2019, the country spent 9.15% of its GDP on the healthcare sector.

Apart from Finnish pharma companies, the country also hosts foreign corporations like Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), Cigna Corporation (NYSE:CI), Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:REGN).

6. Taiwan

Health Care Index: 77.7


Citations Per Paper: 5.28


Legatum-Prosperity Health Score: 250.28

Taiwan is located in Southeast Asia. It has highly sophisticated healthcare infrastructure, owing to its early adoption of modern technologies. Some of its top medical institutes include Taipei Medical University and Kaohsiung Medical University. 

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Disclosure: none. 15 Most Advanced Countries in Medicine is originally published on Insider Monkey.