German medical technology companies grow 4.3% in 2006

5 March 2007

Berlin, Germany. The medical technology sector in Germany increased its turnover by 4.3% in 2006, according to a survey of the 200 member companies of BVMed, the German Medical Technology Association. This compares to growth in turnover of 2% in 2005, and 1.5% in 2004.

In comparison to other sectors, the category "single-use devices, intensive care medicine, nursing items" reported an above-average turnover growth of 5.6%. Turnover in the sectors "single-use surgical equipment" (plus 3.4%), "incontinence and ostomy aids" (plus 3.0%) and "dressing materials" (plus 1.0%) was somewhat subdued. The reported rise in turnover is mainly based on volume growth. The BVMed sales structure is as follows: medical devices for intensive and nursing care: 62 %; dressing materials: 15%; surgical equipment: 7%; incontinence and ostomy care: 16%

BVMed is calling for a "health economy master plan" that is aligned across all policy areas and, above all, coordinated with the government's economy, research and health departments as well as with the Federal Chancellery.

Director General of BVMed Joachim M. Schmitt has called for a broad discussion by society in general on how much health is worth to the country. He said that people should be openly informed that the finite resources of Statutory Health Insurance cannot deliver an unending supply of innovative healthcare benefits. “In times of limited resources there is an even greater need for more individual responsibility of the medically insured for their own health and for alternative funding concepts, so that, in the future, medical progress can continue to be made available to all patients in good time,, he said.

Medical technologies are a significant economic and labour market factor in Germany. The medical technology companies have a considerable share in the positive development of the health economy. Healthcare spending in the medical devices sector amounted to more than €20 billion. Of this amount, €10.1 billion account for medical technical aids, €9 billion for other medical supplies and about €1 billion for the sector of medical dressings, which is listed in the category "pharmaceuticals". The share of Statutory Health Insurance in the total expenditure incurred amounted to some €14 billion: €5.5 billion were spent on medical technical aids, €7.8 billion on other medical supplies plus the medical dressings share.

The world market for medical devices amounted to some €184 billion. The European market, estimated at €55 billion, is the second biggest market in the world, following the United States at €79 billion. Besides the USA and Japan, Germany is the third biggest market worldwide at €20 billion and by far the largest market in Europe. It is about twice as large as the French and three times as large as the Italian and the British market.

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