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Germany rapidly makes newly licensed drugs available

A study has found that German regulators are quickest at getting newly approved pharmaceuticals to patients. Industry observers say the speed is due to how the German healthcare system works.


Each year the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) carries out a study on if and how quickly new medicines become available within national healthcare systems. This year, Germany ranked first in what is known as the WAIT (WaitingtoAccessInnovativeTherapies) study. The latest survey was based on 152 drugs in 34 countries – of these, 24 were in the European Union (EU) and ten were non-EU countries.

Germany’s top ranking is based on 50-day average time period for new, approved drugs to reach patients. In Switzerland, by comparison, this figure was 87 days, while in Britain it took 297 days, and in France, 474.

Analysts say that Germany’s position is attributable to system structure. The country’s healthcare insurers make drugs eligible for reimbursement immediately upon licensing and approval. Discounts are negotiated later on. The reliability of this process tends to make Germany a leader when it comes to bringing new medicines to market globally.

The president of the German Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies, the vfa, Han Steutel noted, “What’s decisive for patients is that new drugs become available for therapy quickly after completion of the approval process.” The vfa represents 47 globally-leading drug makers as well as more than 100 of their subsidiaries.

The Export Initiative for the German Healthcare Industry, HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY, is the place to learn more about how drug licensing and the healthcare system work in Germany. What is more, the initiative publishes profiles of the healthcare industry’s sectors, including the German Pharmaceutical Industry Profile, for individuals and businesses from abroad who would like to learn more about German healthcare.