The German medtech market is the largest in Europe with record spending of around EUR 38 billion in 2019. With increased demand being created by the Covid-19 pandemic, this figure will be surpassed in 2020 and subsequent years.
Hospitals to double number of ICU beds
Although a number of industry sectors will experience significant to minimal foreign direct investment decline as a result of the ongoing crisis, the healthcare sector will record an increase according to forecasts.
Germany’s two thousand hospitals currently have a 500,000 bed capacity. Intensive care unit capacity has been increased from 12,000 beds to 40,000 beds in recent weeks. German federal and state governments intend to further double the number of ICU beds in a joint effort and require hospitals to take immediate action in an effort to prepare for worst case pandemic scenarios.
Increased manufacturing capacity through diversification and partnering
Ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically masks and gowns, are among those products most desperately needed in hospitals. Current demand exceeds available supply even though many global players including Drägerwerke, B. Braun and Siemens Healthineers are German in origin, and have significant on-site manufacturing capacity (as do international players including Johnson&Johnson, Hamilton et al). The European Commissioner for the Internal Market has called for quick action beyond the traditional medtech industry, urging manufacturers to increase and diversify production. Positive examples include textile and shoe manufacturers who have begun producing masks and gowns.
In Germany, textile manufacturers and even automobile industry suppliers have proven to be capable of diversification by adapting their production lines to make new products like filtering face piece (FFP) masks. MAHLE, a specialist for combustion engine technology and car air conditioning, is working with underwear maker Triumph to this end, forecasting short-term output of 1.5 million FFP3 masks a month.
Medtech clusters to set up special corona networks
Bringing together industry partners has been a key capability of Germany’s network of 30 medtech cluster networks across the country. In the face of the Covid-19 epidemic, this infrastructure has proven invaluable. MedicalMountains in Tuttlingen has set up the “Corona Drehscheibe” (Corona Hub), an online partnering platform specifically designed to coordinate regional demand and supply, purchasing agencies and manufacturing capacities. The national medtech industry association BVMed and SPECTARIS – covering optical, photonic, analytics and medtech industries – are also hosting Covid-19 specific information and partnering services.