Pharmaceutical Industry

Prodcution of pills in the pharmaceutical industry; Source:

Healthcare has developed as one of the most important global growth markets. The pharmaceutical industry represents the largest sub-sector of the healthcare industry in Germany and has been a significant global player from the beginning. In 2016 pharmaceutical sales in Germany amounted to EUR 56.8 billion, an increase of almost two percent over the previous year. The industry exported pharmaceuticals at a value of EUR 63.5 billion in 2016.

Market development

Due to the constant increase of quality in development and production, German products are popular worldwide. The export figures for the pharmaceutical industry relative to total production have been growing for years.

The innovative work done by companies located in Germany is reflected in expressive numbers. In 2015 Germany’s pharmaceutical industry spent EUR 5.4 billion on research and development. This is equivalent to 13.2 percent of revenue, making it higher than in any other sector of industry in Germany. About one fifth of the workforce of the industry is working in R&D.

Export highlights

Since the 1990s, Germany has been able to maintain its position as an important global production location for pharmaceutical products. Germany is the ideal place for internationally operating firms. The export ratio of the pharmaceutical companies in Germany has increased from around 48 percent in 2000 to 66.5 percent in 2016.

German companies in the healthcare industry have more than a century of successful global experience. They have developed world famous drugs like Aspirin ®, just to name one salient product. In 2010, a German company launched the marketing of Betaferon ® for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in China. The drug is currently licensed in more than 100 countries worldwide.


Among the tasks of the Export Initiative of the German Healthcare Industry, HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY, is to inform and guide foreign individuals and companies who are interested in doing business in and with German healthcare. The Initiative informs you about German industry, holds events in your country and is available to answer your questions. Other functions are to promote lasting foreign market access and international network development for German small and medium-sized industries (SMEs).

In order to ensure that it is meeting their needs, HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY works in close cooperation with four working groups whose members are organizations representing specific sectors within the German healthcare industry. They are also available to address any queries you might have.

The members of the Pharmaceuticals Working Group are:

German Association of Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers (BAH)

German Pharmaceutical Industry Association (BPI)

Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa)