About this initiative

This internet portal presents an overview of the German healthcare industry. It also provides information about companies and institutions in the pharmaceutical, medical technology and medical biotechnology industries as well as digital health, health-related services and further fields.

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As the population of many countries ages, healthcare is becoming a key issue.

In Germany, many companies are already world leaders in their fields, in part due to a policy of consistent and early promotion of healthcare in Germany. German technology suppliers possess decades of valuable experience in realizing healthcare projects both at home and abroad. Providers of products and services know to develop and deliver customized solutions. The German healthcare industry is a powerhouse characterized by high innovation, steady growth and continually developing employment potential.

Besides the U.S. and Japan, Germany is by far the largest healthcare market (EUR 259.2 billion total volume of healthcare industry in 2012, with an 11.1% share of GDP).

Over the past 10 years, the average growth of gross value added in the healthcare industry has been significantly higher than in the overall economy.

In 2012, Germany's healthcare industry employs some 6.1 million highly qualified personnel, including doctors, engineers, chemists, physicists, and mathematicians. Between 2006 and 2012, the number employed in the healthcare industry grew by 800.000, meaning a 15 percent increase on 2006. And the sector is still expected to grow. A German Health Ministry study projects that by the year 2030, one in five German employees will be working in healthcare.

"HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY", initiated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, bundles key information and contact details related to German healthcare products and services and publishes it for your use on the internet.

Centuries of Growth Have Shaped the German Healthcare System

Overview - German Healthcare System

German healthcare milestones of global influence:

  • 1710: Berlin's Charité hospital is founded. In 2003, the medical faculties at Berlin's Humboldt University and the Free University were merged and are now called Charité - Universitätsmedizin. The merger has made Charité one of Europe's largest university hospitals.
  • 1810: Samuel Hahnemann published the first book on homeopathic medicine.
  • 1850: Hermann von Helmholtz invented the ophthalmoscope, paving the way for the development of modern ophthalmology.
  • 1854: Physiologist Karl von Vierordt developed the sphygmograph to measure arterial pulse.
  • 1882: Robert Koch identified the pathogen that causes tuberculosis.
  • 1895: German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered x-rays.
  • 1897: Chemist and pharmacist Felix Hoffmann succeeded in manufacturing a chemically pure, stable form of acetylsalicylic acid. Aspirin was born.
  • 1901: Emil von Behring discovered the antitoxin for one of the most dangerous childhood illnesses of the 19th century, diphtheria. On the basis of von Behring's work, Paul Ehrlich succeeded in vaccinating people against the disease.
  • 1903: German surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch develops the differential pressure chamber, making lung surgery possible.
  • 1924: Using an artificial kidney, internist Georg Haas carried out hemodialysis for the first time.
  • 1929: Hans Berger developed electroencephalography (EEG), a technique and device for measuring brain waves.
  • 1957: Carl Zeiss - working in cooperation with Gerd Meyer - developed the xenon light photocoagulator, the predecessor of the optical laser.
  • 1962: Dr. Bernd Braun invented the first intravenous catheter, the Braunüle ® B. Braun.
  • 1990: Two different healthcare systems are successfully merged after German reunification.
  • 2008: Harald zur Hausen is awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of the role of papilloma viruses in causing cervical cancer, the 16th Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to a German investigator.

Germany's Strengths - Innovation, High Quality, Safety and Reliability

Values of German products and services

A: Innovation

The German healthcare industry has a long tradition of numerous innovations that have set world standards.

The industry's consistent ability to turn theory into practice has played a key role in allowing this achievement. Reliable, close cooperation between companies and scientific research facilities are the basis of this strength. Among Germany's globally known scientific institutions are:

  • The Fraunhofer Institute, including the Department of Biomedical Technology
  • Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers, including a Dementia Research Centre
  • Robert-Koch Institute (RKI)
  • Paul-Ehrlich Institute (PEI)
  • Institute for the Hospital Remuneration System (InEK)
  • The Leibniz Association, including the German Diabetes Centre, among other institutes

The high level of innovative drive is reflected in German research and development programs:

  • Germany's federal government is pursuing a "High-Tech-Strategy" to promote innovation in the areas of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical technology. From 2006 to 2009, the government made available total of EUR 1.23 billion as part of this initiative.
  • Germany led Europe in 2007 in filing patents, with 581 patent applications filed per million inhabitants (European average: 135 patents).
  • And in 2009, 2.78 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) was invested in R&D (around EUR 66 billion).

B: High Quality

Quality through Innovation

Numerous innovations in the German healthcare industry lead to progressively improved products and constant growth in know-how. German products have also been associated with high quality for decades and are in demand worldwide. As a result, many German companies in the healthcare industry can look back on years of successful, global experience. These companies are therefore able to custom produce equipment and technology to meet the needs of customers on-site and tailor products to suit local infrastructure.

Among the German companies that have global reputations and are rich in tradition are Siemens, Otto Bock, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bayer AG, B Braun and Dräger.

Germany also leads the world when it comes to the quality of education and training of young people destined for careers in the healthcare industry.

Some 40 German universities independently offer full-fledged courses of study in the field of medical technology. Top flight programs and highly qualified teaching personnel ensure outstanding university educations for young talent, for example in the fields of engineering, biotechnology and medicine.

C: Safety and Reliability

German Safety Standards Set the Mark Internationally

Ensuring the quality of products and services is a priority in Germany. German products will continue to be associated with quality and safety worldwide because numerous institutions in Germany oversee the safety and reliability of technologies and manufactured goods.

Among the organizations that certify the safety and the reliability of products "Made in Germany" are:

  • The Medical Standards Committee (NAMed) in DIN e.V., which develops medical product and devices' standards to provide patients, users and third parties with a high level of protection, and ensures devices function as specified by the manufacturer.
  • The TÜV carries out regular monitoring and issues certificates for medical and healthcare facilities (quality management and control).
  • Germany complies with EU directives for development and licensing of biopharmaceuticals, and pharmaceutical and medical products.

In this way, it is guaranteed that the products made here are reliable and work safely, even under extreme conditions and over long periods of time to ensure that customer expectations of every single product are fully met.