Healthcare focus of EUR 130 billion stimulus package
Germany's federal government has announced a EUR 130 billion stimulus package aimed specifically at boosting innovative technologies, including healthcare. One part of the program includes EUR three billion aimed at furthering digitization of German hospitals and improving hospital infrastructure.
The plan has made Germany the first major European country to introduce a large stimulus program to mitigate the economic effects of the corona virus pandemic. According to some analysts, all of Germany's aid measures together total to around ten percent of German GDP. The program provides for extra spending, tax cuts, and support for business. German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has said that the aim is to bring Germany's economy out of the crisis "with a 'ka-boom.'"
The program to further the development of digitized hospitals will include modernizing emergency treatment capacities and improving the IT infrastructure in hospitals. Additionally, the government wants to increase the country's capability and independence in terms of producing personal protective equipment, medicines, their precursor chemicals, and vaccines. The cost of achieving this is estimated at around EUR one billion.
The German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is rising to the challenge of the pandemic as well. As the financing plan was being hammered out, Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek set the direction: "…The grave economic consequences of the pandemic demand a reaction that goes beyond extending acute support. It is precisely now that we must look forward … We want to come out of the crisis stronger than we came into it … right now the major watchwords are climate protection and digitization. That is exactly why we need to invest massively in research, education, and innovation now."
The German government's focus on innovation and research is not surprising, even though media analysts note that this stimulus package is a new departure from Germany's past dedication to balancing the budget – known as the "black zero policy." Despite this, the country has a long tradition of supporting medical innovation, a characteristic that has made it a global leader in patents for medical technology and other healthcare fields. The export initiative for the German healthcare industry, HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY is the place to learn more about this dynamic, driving force in Germany's national economy.