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Pharmaceutical Industry in Germany

The project Pharmastandort Deutschland (Pharmaceutical Location Germany) deals with the location conditions for research-intensive pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.

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The German Pharmaceutical Industry Research Center at the German Economic Institute (IW) was founded in 2009 in cooperation with the German Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa).

The healthcare industry, and the pharmaceutical industry in particular, are regarded as Germany's industries of the future. However, the positive impact of pharmaceutical developments on medical progress and thus on people's life expectancy and quality of life, as well as on Germany as a business and research location, is increasingly losing ground in the public debate. Our main concern is the location policy view.

  • The pharmaceutical industry as an economic factor: Pharmaceuticals are not only sold in Germany. New active ingredients and therapies are also researched, developed and produced here for the domestic and world markets. This has a variety of effects on the entire location: The manufacture of pharmaceutical products leads to technological progress, especially in the medical field; jobs are created for well-trained employees; internationally competitive companies have positive spillover effects on upstream economic sectors in Germany - all this has a favorable impact on the entire economy, but receives little public attention.
  • Pharmaceuticals market: In the pharmaceuticals market, individual pharmaceutical companies have to assert themselves against their competitors. At the same time, however, companies in Germany are faced with an impenetrable network of government control instruments. This has a direct influence on the sale of their drugs and can also have a lasting impact on the research and production location.
  • Promotion of research, development and innovation: The development of a drug takes up to twelve years, is uncertain and expensive - out of more than 5,000 possible substances, only one makes it to approval as a drug. The pharmaceutical research location therefore needs a reliable legal and economic framework so that pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies want to make their investments in research and development in Germany. This includes a climate that is open to innovation, an investment-friendly economic policy and excellently trained employees.

Our goals

The development of highly innovative industries is already of central importance for economic growth. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in particular is becoming increasingly important due to demographic change, the growing world population and rising incomes worldwide.
The research unit „Pharmastandort Deutschland“ conducts economically sound research to explain the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and the overall economy. 

  • We research the position of research-based pharmaceutical and biotech companies within the national economy and their benefits for the national economy.
  • We use our scientific expertise to continuously improve the framework conditions for research, employment and investment in highly innovative industries.
  • Our goal is to develop a scientifically sound analytical framework for evaluating current policy initiatives with a view to their industry-specific impact.

Our claim

The work of the Research Unit is characterized by a high qualitative standard, which is ensured, among other things, by a continuous exchange with the scientific referees of the Institute of the German Economy.

We represent - like the IW as a whole - a clear free-market position: individual responsibility takes precedence over collective welfare, competition over state intervention.

Project partner

The German Economic Institute in Cologne is a registered association. Its members are around 120 business and employer associations in Germany as well as individual companies. Membership fees amounting to around 10 million euros annually finance the ongoing scientific and journalistic work. In addition, the institute carries out numerous research projects financed by third-party funds. Project partners primarily include foundations, associations and public institutions. The members participate in the general direction of the institute through the association's committees, without influencing the content of individual studies or positions. The scientific work is methodologically and empirically sound. It is independent of individual interests and represents the interests of the entrepreneurial economy in Germany, which are oriented towards the common good.

The vfa is the trade association of research-based pharmaceutical companies in Germany. It represents the interests of 45 of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical companies and more than 100 subsidiaries and affiliates in healthcare, research and economic policy.

The members of the vfa represent more than two thirds of the entire German pharmaceutical market and employ more than 80,000 people in Germany. They ensure therapeutic progress in pharmaceuticals and safeguard the high standard of drug therapy.

More than 18,000 of their employees work in Germany on the research and development of medicines. In Germany alone, research-based pharmaceutical companies invest 5.2 billion euros annually in drug research for new and better medicines.

To the website of the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies

Website: Verband forschender Pharma-Unternehmen

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Jasmina Kirchhoff

Dr. Jasmina Kirchhoff

Project Manager for Pharmaceutical Location Germany

Tel: +49 221 4981-813 Jasmina Kirchhoff
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Jochen Pimpertz

Dr. Jochen Pimpertz

Head of the State, Taxes, Social Security Research Unit

Tel: +49 221 4981-760 Jochen Pimpertz
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Simon Schumacher

Simon Schumacher

Economist for Pharmaceutical Location Germany

Tel: +49 221 4981-866
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