Prof. Dr. Günter Stock: Potentials of Health Care Industry in the region of the capital

According to a study conducted by Dr. Anja Ranscht and Dr. Dennis Alexander Ostwald of Prof. Dr. Bert Rürup’s chair at the Darmstadt Uni­­versity of Technology on behalf of our net­­work HealthCapital, the Berlin-Bran­den­­­­burg region of health is already today an extraordinarily important eco­­nomic factor. In 2008, 351,000 people were working in the health sector and generated a gross value of 14.25 billion euros. The study predicts that this industry will continue to develop favourably until 2030. By then there will be 368,000 employees generating a gross value of 20.19 billion euros in the region. These encouraging numbers show that health care industry is an interesting sector, combining science, economy and health care. This way it offers great po­­tential for innovations as well as for vocational and further training of specialized staff. About 180 companies in biotechnology and biomedicine, 250 companies in medical engineering, 24 pharmaceutical companies, 120 hos­­pi­­­­tals, 17 public universities with programmes of study regarding health issue numerous companies offering vocational training, and last but not least, the high number of public and pri­­vate research facilities place the region on the top of the Ger­­man and European health clusters.

It is clearly evident that this people-intensive area with staff both from uni­­versities and with vocational training has a high need for further education.


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The high standards of the universities and of the companies providing vocation­­al training have a very high reputation worldwide. Both parts of Berlin were al­­ready renowned science locations be­­fore the Wall came down: The Humboldt University, the Charité and academy in­­stitutes on one side, the Technical Uni­­­­versity of Berlin and the Free University of Berlin as well as non-university research institutes on the other side, had already been in­­cre­­as­­ing Berlin’s scientific reputation for many years and they were the logical result of Berlin’s history as an extraordinary city of sciences.

Considering this expertise, it was but logical to further and significantly in­­crease the development of research in life sciences after the Wall came down. The development of the biotech-industry and the medical engineering industry in the pharmaceutical companies Schering, Berlin-Chemie and others be­­­came an important basis for the reindustrialization of the Metropolitan Re­­gion of Berlin-Brandenburg. A process which, thankfully, is continuing, as the recent opening of Pfizer’s German head office as well as the Science Center Me­­di­­zin­­tech­nik of the company Otto Bock im­­pressively show. Today it is no long­er un­­­­realistic to imagine that Berlin will be­­come an important place of the bio­­medical industry with not only German but even European head offices of im­­portant pharmaceutical and medical engineering companies in the next few years. Already now 18 per cent of all German biotechnology companies are based in the wider area of Berlin-Brandenburg.
There are many incentives: the proximity to science and politics, the high quality in the perhaps most vivid metropolitan region of Europe and the opportunity to create unorthodox innovations in co-operation with the creative and media industries, which are growing fast and be­­coming increasingly important in Berlin-Brandenburg.

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Berlin-Brandenburg has an extraordinari­­ly efficient health care system consisting of the Charité, Vivantes, the Carl-Thiem clinical centre and many other public and private hospitals. Reha­­bil­­i­­tation centres with high standards com­­plement this chain of services.

“Wellness” is gaining in importance due to our increasing understanding of how to avoid diseases and of the influence of a healthy way of living on our wellbeing. In this area, too, the metropolitan region has facilities that live up parti­­c­­u­­larly well to the modern ideas of pre­­ven­­tion, early and late rehabilitation.

In addition to increasing the quality of living and securing our standards of living, the above-mentioned facilities are of course also economic factors. They create and secure jobs, thereby contri­­bu­­ting significantly to the region’s eco­­nomic growth.

One factor will play a special role in future: Due to the demographic development, we have to expect an increase in chronic, degenerative diseases – for example of the heart, the brain or the locomotor system.


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The modern molecular medicine on the one hand and our new understanding of the prevention and rehabilitation on the other, together with the burgeon­ing field of regenerative medicine, prepare the health industry for this challenge and secure the investments into a sustainable growth sector – future-proof, devoted to people and economically interesting.

If we succeed in bringing this complete offer even more to bear on a supraregio­­nal, national and international level, if we succeed in bringing Berlin even clos­­er to being Europe’s convention cap­­ital for medical conventions and if we succeed in putting all the potentials we have into reality, then we will not only be a Euro­­pean metropolis of highest urbanity and highest scholarliness but also a region that bases its economic wellbeing on a rein­­dustrialization which has developed first of all from science.

 

StockThe author was born in 1944 and studied medicine in Heidelberg, where he then obtained his postdoctoral lecture qualifi­­c­­ation. In 2006 he was awarded the Fe­d­­er­­al Cross of Merit; in 2007 he re­­ceived the Order of Merit of the State Berlin. He is the president of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Berlin-Bran­­denburg and, since 2007, has been the spokesman of Health­­Capital, the network of health man­­agement in Berlin-Bran­­den­­­­burg.