According to a Roland Berger study, every adult in Germany spends an average of EUR 900 on their health each year in addition to monthly insurance contributions. “Many alternative and complimentary practices and products are paid for by patients out of their own pockets,” says Wiegand. “The country’s out-of-pocket market as a whole is estimated to be worth more than EUR 40 billion. Growth has been extremely promising at a rate of four percent per year for more than a decade.”
Germany offers investors in complementary and alternative medicine a number of unique advantages. Nine out of ten Germans are covered by one of many public health insurance funds, with the remainder insured privately. German law requires certain complementary and alternative procedures to be covered by public insurers, such as acupuncture for chronic lumbar pain or osteoarthritis of the knee. However, many public funds now provide additional cover for other complementary and alternative treatments.
An interesting factor is that there are around 16,000 medical doctors in Germany who have completed extra training courses in complementary and alternative medicine. They may use the title Arzt für Naturheilverfahren, meaning doctor for naturopathic treatment, in addition to their medical title. Furthermore, in Germany non-medical practitioners known as Heilpraktiker may carry out complementary and alternative medicine. It is estimated that there are 35,000 Heilpraktiker in the country.
“The German market for complementary and alternative medicine is of growing interest for international companies,” says Wiegand. “The out-of-pocket healthcare segment, in particular, offers huge opportunities.”