The Health Sector

Germany is the largest market for the health industry in Europe and the German healthcare system is recognised around the world for providing quality care.

Do business in one of the most comprehensive healthcare systems in the world

  • The German healthcare system is recognised around the world for providing quality care with short waiting times and a high level of attention.
  • Germany has 630 public hospitals; 755 community hospitals, which are often affiliated with religious orders; and 679 private hospitals.
  • In 2010, there were 502,749 beds in German hospitals, the majority of which are located in private hospitals.
*2010 Figures from the German Federal Ministry for Health

*2010 Figures from the German Federal Ministry for Health

  • The German healthcare system is similar to Australia’s in two ways: it is compulsory to have health insurance and it is also divided into a public statutory health insurance system, made up of multiple providers, and a private health insurance system.

The statutory insurance system, called the Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung (GKV), is financed through a 15.5% payroll tax; this is divided by the individual, who pays 8.2% of their income, and the employers who pay the remaining 7.3%. This system covers roughly 85% of the total population.

The private system, which is much more competitive, is available for those individuals in a higher income bracket and provides substitutive and supplementary services to the GKV. However, 75% of those able to purchase a private plan choose to remain with the public system, indicating a high level of public care.

  • Recent reforms have introduced the legally fixed tax rate for the GKV of 15%, and also increased competition between the providers within each system.

Germany has a high demand

  • Germany is the largest market for the health industry in Europe and the third largest in the world.
  • In 2010, Germans spent a staggering A$bn 366 on healthcare, of which, A$bn 100.8 was spent on healthcare goods.
  • Due to an ageing population, the demand for healthcare is rising. Germans are increasingly willing to invest in their health.
  • Furthermore, the higher retirement age means that people are working longer and companies are starting to recognise the benefits of effective corporate health management, which can reduce staff absenteeism by up to 40%. However, only 36% of companies are instituting programs.
  • 2.5 million people in Germany needed long-term care in December of 2011, of which 70% were taken care of at home with many being cared for by family members.

Search out your sector

  • The medical technology market in Germany recognised A$bn 2.73 worth of revenue in 2011, a growth of 7% over the 2010 figures. Producers of medical technology receive approximately 30% of their turnover from products which are less than 3 years old.
  • In 2011, approximately 18.3 million people received full in-patient hospital treatment, with an average per patient cost of A$ 5,045.
  • The pharmaceutical market, which consists of over 900 companies, had a turnover of around A$bn 38 in 2010.

Enter a highly innovative market

  • The market is dominated by SME, largely located in clusters benefiting from cooperation between the industry and research facilities.
  • Germany ranks second in the world in terms of medical technology patent registrations, with the USA holding first place.
  • Germany has a clear competitive advantage when it comes to clinical trials. It ranks in first place in Europe and second worldwide; while data quality is equal to that of the US, the costs are approximately 50% lower in Germany.
  • In 2010, pharmaceutical companies spent A$bn 7 on R&D and employed some 103,208 people. Furthermore, it is recognised as one of the most productive and best performing industries in Germany with the net added value per employee reaching A$ 135,800 in 2007.

Being healthy is increasingly trendy

  • There is a growing trend for preventative medicine and wellness as high levels of stress and overwork are linked to diabetes, heart disease and mental health. According to a study by Roland Berger, 30% of German adults lead unhealthy lifestyles. Despite the growing demand, healthcare providers in Germany are only slowly expanding into this sector.
  • There is a growing secondary healthcare market in Germany; this is defined as consumer goods focused on health and prevention and all privately financed healthcare services. 77% of consumers are willing to pay out of pocket for these goods and services, which include health consulting, preventive medicine, health-tourism, organic and/or functional food, gym memberships and sporting goods.

Opportunities for Australian companies

  • Help the ageing population find the products they need: from ease of use to increased mobility, even to products assisting in in-home care.
  • Fill the gap and meet the demand in preventative medicine and wellness.
  • Gain market share in the German health industry by entering the secondary healthcare market.
  • Develop your clinical trial with data quality equivalent to the United States but at half the cost.
  • Whether patenting your technological developments or researching pharmaceuticals, the innovation and competition in Germany make it a very successful market. Why not become part of the process?

Participate in Trade Shows:

  • Medica, a world forum for medicine and international trade fair in Düsseldorf held in November. It is the place to be in the European medical market.
  • MedTec, the European medical technology trade fair held annually in Stuttgart in February.
  • IDS –the International Dental Show, the world’s leading trade show for the dental sector held in March every year in Cologne.

To make it in Germany it is of utmost importance to visit or exhibit at trade shows or congresses. Contact us to see how Exportia can help you meet the right person at Medica, MedTec, or IDS.

Please also contact us to hear about the latest requirements regarding CE certification (health and safety) and Elektro G (waste and disposal) legislation.

Germany Trade and Invest:
Bundesverband Medizintechnologie:
Bundesministerium für Gesundheit:
Statistisches Bundesamt:
Verband Forschender Arzneimittelhersteller:
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants:

Exchange rate used: 1€ = A$1.274

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