Segment GermanyMarket environmentBusiness performance
The new federal government in Germany has agreed a digitalisation strategy for the healthcare sector with the slogan “Dare to make more progress”. This will be regularly updated and the focus will be on solving supply problems and being user-centred. Telemedicine will also be further expanded and should now be possible on a “regular basis”. Under the Digital Provision and Care Modernisation Act the charging rate for video consultations will be increased to 30 per cent. In January 2022, the shareholders of gematik set quality criteria for the ongoing test phase for e-prescriptions in Germany this year. The test phase will be followed by a nationwide rollout.
Market growth in Germany 1, 2
2021 saw Europe’s largest market for medicines grow by 7.3 per cent to EUR 54 billion. Pharmacies currently have a market share of 86 per cent. The other 14 per cent of sales are generated through hospitals and clinics. In the pharmacy channel, mail order accounts for around 0.7 per cent 3 of prescription drugs and 23.2 per cent of OTC medicines. Pharmacy sales of prescription medicines increased by 8.7 per cent in 2021 to EUR 38.8 billion, while sales of OTC medicines rose by 1.7 per cent to EUR 5.6 billion. Revenue from non-prescription products (OTC medicines and products commonly sold in pharmacies) in the pharmaceutical mail-order business rose by 3.6 per cent to EUR 2.6 billion in 2021.
1 IQVIA™ Market Report Classic, Performance of the German Pharmaceuticals Market in 2021
2 Insight Health, OTC Pharmacy market development December 2021
3 Federal Ministry of Health: Financial results of the Statutory Health Insurance (GKV) 1st to 3rd quarter 2021 (KV45)
Digital Provision and Care Modernisation Act (DVPMG)
On 6 May 2021, with the consent of the governing parties, the German parliament approved another digitalisation act for healthcare. Amongst other things, the DVPMG will increase the rate at which video consultations can be charged to 30 per cent. The insurers are also obliged to set a digital authentication procedure for video consultations. This will remove some of the barriers to using video consultations, such as showing an electronic health card over video or afterwards at the practice.
Coalition agreement in Germany
The coalition agreement between the SPD, ALLIANCE 90 / THE GREENS and the FDP of 7 December 2021 places a strong emphasis on digitalisation in healthcare. This includes accelerated introduction of electronic health records (ePA) and e-prescriptions and using these in a way that provides benefits. Telemedical services including prescriptions for medication, remedies and appliances plus video consultations, teleconsultations, telemonitoring and emergency medical assistance over the phone are also to be possible as a general rule. In addition, the Strengthening Local Pharmacies Act will be revised to better reward pharmaceutical services and make use of efficiency gains within the financing system.
Launch of electronic prescriptions
On 20 December 2021 the Federal Ministry of Health announced that the test phase for e-prescriptions in Germany was to be extended. As a result, the test and pilot operations have been continued and expanded in stages beyond 1 January 2022, as feedback from service providers and funding agencies to the Ministry of Health indicated that the technical process had not been sufficiently tested by that time. Under section 360 para. 1 of the Social Security Code V, across-the-board technical availability was a fundamental condition for the mandatory launch of e-prescriptions on 1 January 2022. On 26 January 2022 the shareholders of gematik decided to intensify the ongoing test phase for e-prescriptions and set corresponding quality criteria. For example, at least 30,000 e-prescriptions should be successfully processed. The test phase will be followed by a nationwide rollout in Germany.