Since ancient times, humankind has tried to cure diseases with drugs. Whereas previously primarily active ingredients from nature (plants, minerals) were used, from the 19th century on, synthetic active ingredients started to make a major contribution. Since then the arsenal has expanded: Biopharmaceuticals occupy an increasingly important place in the fight against diseases. Another trend is the development of personalized drugs, where a pretest determines whether the drug can most likely help the patient in question while creating no problematic side effects (stratification). Equally important is the development of vaccines that ensure certain diseases never occur. Some diseases, such as polio or smallpox, have already been largely defeated.

The World Health Organization maintains a list of essential drugs sorted by active ingredients. Since 1977, the number of essential drugs has nearly doubled according to WHO.

On average, research-based pharmaceutical companies introduce more than 25 innovative drugs for patient care in Germany each year. 2014 was a particularly good year in this regard.

Only six percent of medical prescriptions in Germany involve patented drugs.

84 medications with orphan drug status are currently authorized (a continually updated list can be found at

More than a quarter of all medicines dispensed in Germany are focused on combating cardiovascular diseases.

With more than 350,000 mortalities in 2010, cardiovascular diseases are still the leading cause of death in Germany. However, since 1980, the number of deaths due to ardiovascular diseases has decreased by around 30 percent.

In 2014, infectious diseases and cancer were the therapy areas for which the most new drugs were approved.

For years, the number of new cases of cancer has been on the rise. However, new medications have succeeded in stabilizing the number of deaths due to cancer.

The Pharmaceutical Industry in Germany

Germany: The Perfect Location for Research, Production and Sales - a publication by GERMANY TRADE & INVEST and vfa
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