Innovative German medical technology a key healthcare industry driver

The German Medical Technology Association – BVMed – has published a report on the country's medical technology industry. Entitled BVMed Sector Report (BVMed Branchenbericht) the publication analyzes the latest healthcare and medical technology industry figures. The report was released just ahead of the MEDICA in Düsseldorf, Europe's largest healthcare trade fair.

Logo BVMed; Quelle: BVMed

BVMed's Branchenbericht opens with an analysis of Germany's healthcare economy, saying that it employs seven million people and had revenues of EUR 337 billion and contributed 12 percent to German GDP in 2016. From there, the emphasis shifts to the "industrial healthcare economy (IGW)”, which includes the production and marketing of pharmaceuticals for humans, medical products, medical biotechnology, and medical technology.

Within Germany's IGW, the medical technology sector is said to be "particularly innovative, characterized by strong growth, and to have a promising future." In terms of figures, the report says that the sector had EUR 29.2 billion euros in turnover in 2016 – a 5.8 percent increase on the previous year. It notes that German medtech is very export intensive, with 65 percent of production being sold abroad. The BVMed publication places Germany in the top three of the world's global producers (without IVD) in 2015, with most of Germany's exports (51 percent) going to countries in Europe, followed by North America and Asia.

The report cites patent statistics, saying that Germany is second only to the US in terms of the share of new medtech patents filed. What is more, the publication says that most German medical technology companies earn a third of their revenues with products that are less than three years old.

BVMed attributes this performance to research-based medtech companies investing around nine percent of their revenues in R&D. The report backs this with figures from Germany's Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) saying that the share of R&D in medical technology product values is more than twice as high as it is for other industrial products.

In addition to stating that 90 percent of Germany's med-tech companies are small and medium-sized companies (SME), the report explains that innovation is often achieved by working closely with medical professionals. At the same time, these firms are able to cover the lion's share of the EUR two billion they spend on R&D from their own revenues.

The report also notes that the market is becoming more "internationalized." It quotes a senior vice president at B.Braun, Jürgen Tertel, as saying, "We increasingly work in international teams distributed over several locations."

The association used a variety of government and private sources to compile the information, including BVMed member surveys, Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), the BMBF, the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI), other industry associations such as Spectaris, and interviews with company managers.

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