New German government set to innovate

Germany’s new, government made up of Social Democrats (SDP), Alliance 90/The Greens, and liberal Free Democrats (FDP) has emphasized advancing technology in its coalition agreement. The accord says the government is dedicated to promoting “technological, digital, social, and sustainable innovative strength.” This includes a spending target of 3.5 percent of GDP on research and development (R&D).

Bild vom Bundestag
© / jcg_oida

Policies of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG), the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) significantly influence the country’s healthcare industry. The parties of the newly appointed leaders of these ministries fittingly mirrors the composition of what is being called the “traffic light” coalition.

Federal Minister of Health is Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach of the SPD. He is a medical doctor and has been a member of the German parliament, the Bundestag, since 2005. An internationally-known public health policy expert and epidemiologist, Lauterbach was appointed to, among other things, spearhead Germany’s battle with the Corona pandemic.

A government panel of experts on the Corona pandemic was assembled in December. It includes virologists, epidemiologists, sociologists, psychologists, and other specialists. At its first meeting, Lauterbach said that close cooperation with scientists such as these would be the foundation of his policies.

The Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) is Dr. Robert Habeck, national co-leader of the German Green Party. Habeck’s is an environmental and energy policy specialist who has been active in politics for at least two decades. The new economics minister sees the free development of innovative technology as a means of combatting climate change. Habeck said recently of sustainable energy technology, “We are going to newly invent value creation chains and organize growth and affluence in a way that is climate neutral.”

This focus on promoting innovative, climate conserving growth while battling the pandemic was recently seen when the BMWK announced a funding program for speciality lipids, primarily for mRNA vaccines. A ministry official explained, “Germany is one of the world’s leaders in the field of mRNA technology and in the production of the vaccine. In the medium and long term, we expect this technology to also give rise to the development of other innovative pharmaceuticals.”

Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger of the FDP is an economist and finance expert who has been member of in the Bundestag since 2017. When Stark-Watzinger took office in December, her speech focused on progress, innovation, and the importance of training and education going into the future as well. She said of healthcare, “… health research has become an additional specialty … That we could support the development of the BioNTech vaccine was a highlight, of course.”

Though the government is new, it clearly aims to advance Germany’s healthcare industry as a global innovative leader, with policymakers committed to its support.

The export initiative for the German healthcare industry, HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY, is the place to learn the latest on where German healthcare is headed in future.