Region/Countries: Europe, Germany Industry: Biosciences / Medical Devices, Other Date: March 2017

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Domestic production is not keeping up with demand, creating opportunities for Wisconsin products and technologies.

Germany is the fourth-largest economy in the world and the largest economy in Europe. The GDP grew by 1.9 percent in 2016, reaching $3.47 trillion. With a contribution of 11.3 percent to Germany’s GDP last year and an annual growth rate of 3 percent, Germany’s medical technology and pharmaceuticals market is the largest in Europe. In 2016, the country spent $29 billion on health technology to tackle rising demand due to an aging population, increasing incidence of chronic disease, and rising demand for ambulatory and preventive health care.

Despite its large domestic health and medical sector, Germany needs to import certain health technology products and pharmaceuticals. Last year, 64 percent of its health and medical products were exported. Some medical subsectors, such as machinery and instruments for anesthesia, ophthalmologic instruments and sterilizers, are fairly small (each 1 percent of total German medical production). This, combined with rising demand, means domestic production cannot meet the demand in all medical subsectors. In order to fulfill domestic demand and benefit from innovative technologies developed abroad, many German companies import medical devices and drugs for domestic use. The U.S. has been Germany’s biggest supplier of medical technology and pharmaceuticals since 2011, with medical equipment and supplies reaching $2.2 billion, and pharmaceuticals and medicines reaching $4 billion, in 2016.

Wisconsin companies have gained importance among suppliers of medical technology to Germany in recent years. For example, they exported medical, surgical or dental instruments worth $34 million to Germany in 2016. Out of these products, the demand for electro-diagnostic apparatus and parts was the largest, at $16.5 million – a 27 percent increase over 2015. Sales of ultrasonic scanning apparatus grew by more than 50 percent, to $6.8 million, from 2015 to 2016. Moreover, Wisconsin’s exports of medical needles to Germany has grown strongly in the past 16 years, from $100,000 in 2000 to $1.15 million in 2016. Wisconsin exports of pharmaceuticals and medicines to Germany have grown 18 percent since 2010, to $66.5 million in 2016.

Wisconsin companies can expand their strong position in the supply of medical technology and pharmaceuticals to Germany by getting in touch with German companies directly. One venue for this is MEDICA, the world’s leading medical industry trade show, taking place Nov. 13-17, 2017, in Düsseldorf. This event should not be missed by any Wisconsin company active in the medical sector, and Wisconsin’s trade representatives in the market can assist with matchmaking at the trade show.