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Innovative and export-oriented

Medical technology is a quiet export hit for Germany. Learn here six surprising facts about a rather unknown industry.

Highly sensitive and high-tech: the production of pharmaceuticals.
Highly sensitive and high-tech: the production of pharmaceuticals. © Ivan Traimak -

The health economy consists of the industrial and service sectors. The share of the industrial branch is 22.8 per cent (added value) and includes medical products, pharmaceuticals and retail and wholesale services.

The service-oriented health economy includes health care, health insurance and pharmacies. It employs 64 per cent of the workforce in the health industry and accounts for 53 per cent of the added value.

Six important facts about the industrial health economy:

  1. Every sixth person in the German labour force works in the health industry, amounting to 7.6 million people. The industry branch generates around 370 billion euros.
  2. One million people work in the industrial health sector, 55,000 of them in research and development. By comparison, the automotive industry in Germany employs 850,000 people.
  3. Fifteen per cent of turnover is invested in research and development. An extremely high figure. The federal government’s innovation target for business is 3.5 per cent. By comparison, the well-known innovation drivers, mechanical engineering and the electrical industry, invest 6.9 and 6 per cent respectively.
  4. Around 215,000 people are employed in the 1,445 medical technology (MedTech) companies, and as many again by the suppliers. Two thirds work in medium-sized companies with fewer than 250 employees.
  5. MedTech is highly innovative with very short product cycles: a third of sales are achieved with products that have been on the market for less than three years.
  6. MedTech is export-oriented: 66 percent of sales of around 34 billion euros are generated in international business.


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