There is no question that Germany is one of the most prosperous countries in the EU—especially when it comes to medical technology products. According to Germany Trade and Invest, Germany ranks third in the world for medical technology behind the U.S. and Japan; in terms of new patents, Germany is second only to the U.S. About one-third of Germany’s medical technology output consists of products that are less than three years old—especially imaging systems, implants, operational and interventional devices and systems, and in-vitro diagnostics.
Innovation is driven by the Medical Technology Action Plan, which pools various federal funding sources to focus on three main categories: medical technology in rehabilitation and care (intelligent implants), molecular imaging, and medical technology for regenerative medicine.
According to a fall 2011 survey by BVMed, the German Medical Technology Association, German medical technology companies have increased sales by 5.3 percent in 2011.
“The economic development of the industry remains relatively stable,” states BVMed director general Joachim M. Schmitt. “Almost 80 percent of the med tech companies participating in the survey expect 2011 sales to exceed the results of 2010. This is mainly due to a growth in export markets.”
Germany Trade and Invest indicates this growth is largely the result of above-average demand for German medical technology products in the U.S. and Asia
Although sales are up, so are manufacturing costs, especially for raw materials and transportation—which is taking a bite out of profits.
Even so, this stability and growth is creating new jobs. About half of the surveyed companies have created new jobs over the previous year. BVMed estimates the German medical technology sector will have created about 3,000 more new jobs in 2011 than it did the previous year.
According to Export.gov, the German medical technology sector continues to have excellent potential for U.S. suppliers of innovative and price-competitive products; U.S. medical device exporters to Germany hold a 28-30% import market share, depending on product.
Further, Export.gov states that “U.S. medical device exporters will find good market potential for the following products: high quality advanced diagnostic and therapeutic equipment; innovative technologies and minimally invasive equipment, such as laser-optics in vascular surgery, urology, gastrology, dermatology, and neurosurgery, new diagnostic and imaging devices, as well as specialized wound care and easy-to-use home care products. The trend is toward demand for miniaturized electromedical equipment and nanotechnology products. Preventive diagnostics and medical products, innovative orthopedic and physiotherapy devices, and biomaterial, cardiovascular, and endoscopy products will also find good markets in Germany.”