The healthcare industry in NRW
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The healthcare sector in NRW

The healthcare market in North Rhine-Westphalia is a growth and innovation engine for the economy. In medical technology in particular, companies from NRW occupy a leading international position with innovative products.

The pharmaceutical industry is broadly positioned with numerous global players in NRW. North Rhine-Westphalia is also a pioneer in the introduction of telematics applications such as the electronic health record, health professional ID cards or the health card. In addition to its focus on digitization in the healthcare market, NRW bundles a wide range of research topics in the state's regions.

The close cooperation between research and companies is considered a success factor in the industry: Six university hospitals and numerous non-university research institutions ensure

  • excellent research
  • highly interesting cooperation projects with industry
  • modern training of future physicians.

1.3 million

employees
In NRW, more than 1.3 million people are employed in the healthcare industry.

€1 billion

in sales
Around 200 mainly medium-sized medical technology companies generate sales of around one billion euros.

4,400

pharmacies
There are around 4,400 pharmacies, almost 2,400 outpatient services and over 2,450 nursing homes in NRW.

Leading-edge technology

Internationally active large corporations and highly specialized medium-sized companies shape the healthcare industry in the state:

Market leader for pacemakers

Headquartered in Ireland, global medical technology company Medtronic has its German headquarters in Meerbusch. A leader in electrical stimulation, it manufactures more than half of the world's implanted pacemakers, as well as other implantable mechanical devices, drug and bio-delivery devices, and innovative surgical instruments.

Top-quality venous catheters

As the first subsidiary of the French manufacturer of high-tech disposable medical products, VYGON Germany began operations in Aachen back in 1968, specializing in the development and production of drug-incorporated peripheral and central venous catheters, particularly for newborns and premature babies. VYGON produces over one million catheters per year in Aachen and continues to grow. Product development is carried out in collaboration with RWTH Aachen University.

Innovative electromobility for people with disabilities

Pride Mobility, a globally active manufacturer of electric wheelchairs, has been selling its products on the German market for 20 years. In mid-2020, the U.S. company opened its first location in North Rhine-Westphalia, starting in Hövelhof on an area of 16,000 square meters. With its innovations, Pride Mobility wants to help people with limited mobility achieve more independence and now aims to become the industry's largest and most successful wholesaler in Germany from its base in NRW.

Medical innovation and eHealth

Cyberdyne Care Robotics - Winner of the NRW.INVEST Award 2015

Research-intensive companies and institutes have settled around the medical university locations. In addition to new procedures, products for innovative medicine are developed here. Intelligent implants, image-guided therapy and medical IT are just a few prominent fields of activity in the medical sector in North Rhine-Westphalia.

 

Exoskeleton Movement Training Neuromuscular Feedback Therapy with Robotic Suit

Cyberdyne Care Robotics GmbH in Bochum emerged in 2013 from the joint venture between Cyberdyne Inc. Japan and the Bergmannsheil University Hospitals in Bochum. At the Center for Neuro-Robotic Movement Training (ZNB), neuromuscular feedback therapy is offered here for people with spinal cord injuries with the help of the unique robotic suit HAL® (Hybrid Assistive Limb). Via sensors, this TÜV Rheinland CE-certified exoskeleton picks up minimal electrical signals from nerves in the extremities and provides the strength assistance required to execute the patient's movement idea at the appropriate joints.
Its subsidiary CYBERDYNE Europe GmbH is committed to the Europe-wide distribution of the HAL® robotic suit from Bochum.

Close cooperation between industry and research is considered one of the recipes for success in the development of new medical technologies in NRW

For example, the Institute for Applied Medical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University (AME), together with Aachen-based mecora Medizintechnik GmbH, developed the world's smallest fully implantable artificial heart. The "ReinHeart" possesses clear advantages over the artificial heart models currently available on the market. The implant is significantly lighter and, thanks to its extremely low-wear drive concept, can beat in the human body for many years without interference. At the same time, it is so small that it can be used for transplantation in the majority of patients.

 

Cyber Physical Systems

From robot-assisted surgery to smart ambulances and remote diagnosis via telemedicine, cyber physical systems are also opening up new opportunities for the healthcare sector.

Locating emergency sites

One example from the field of e-health is the emergency technology "Emergency Eye," which enables emergency call centers to locate accident sites more quickly and guide first responders via a video chat. The emergency call software from Corevas GmbH und Co. KG in Grevenbroich is being used by more and more control centers in Germany. 

Digitalizing and optimizing data streams and processes

Visus Health IT GmbH is a technology spin-off of Witten/Herdecke University located on the Bochum Health Campus. It offers modern IT solutions that enable digital work processes in healthcare facilities to be designed efficiently and securely. Its product JiveX is one of the internationally leading systems for medical documentation processes.

World's largest medical trade fair MEDICA takes place in NRW

Once a year, trade visitors from all over the world gather in Düsseldorf at the World Forum of Medicine: MEDICA, the international trade fair for medical technology, electromedicine, laboratory equipment, diagnostics and pharmaceuticals. More than 5,200 exhibitors from 71 nations present the important trends in the industry as well as products, services and procedures for the entire spectrum of outpatient and inpatient care.

Groundbreaking research

Diverse competencies, regionally bundled

NRW bundles a wide range of research topics in the state's regions. The Aachen region focuses on medical technology and life sciences; science and industry in the Cologne/Bonn region are developing the topic of health for generations. In Münsterland, research is being conducted into preventive medicine. In South Westphalia, the focus is on materials and technologies for the healthcare industry, and research institutions and companies in East Westphalia-Lippe are working on networked care. In addition, the North Rhine-Westphalia Health Campus in Bochum is regarded as the state's hub of medical expertise. A network of innovative high-tech companies in the fields of medical technology, biomedicine and the healthcare industry come together there to translate the results of the surrounding research facilities into marketable products and technologies.

First 5G medical campus in Europe 

Fit for the digital future: With funding from the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia, Europe's first 5G medical campus is being built at the University Hospital Düsseldorf (UKD). The innovation project "Giga for Health" enables the use of the currently fastest data transmission technology for medical applications in university healthcare, research and teaching. The UKD will thus provide impetus for the further digitization of hospitals in North Rhine-Westphalia.

NRW develops transport drones for medicine

The KODRONA Siegen research project is developing innovative delivery and transport technology for improved local medical care in urban airspace. The initial aim of the project is to enable the exchange of around 50 laboratory samples per day between the DRK Children's Hospital and the Siegen District Hospital using unmanned drones over a distance of around 2.5 kilometers. A prototype is being developed that can be approved in accordance with aviation and medical regulations. The model project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

How to do business in NRW

Do you have questions about entry regulations, tax issues and relevant laws for your investment project? You can find all the important information on setting up a company and other practical answers in our Business Guide.

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Germany

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Biotechnology

The innovative strength of the biotechnology location NRW is characterized by a first-class scientific landscape, internationally successful global players and dynamic SMEs from the chemical and pharmaceutical industry as well as numerous young start-ups.

Food

The food industry in NRW benefits from its proximity to millions of customers at home and abroad, a broad sector mix, the availability of efficient suppliers of all kinds and the wide range of universities and research institutes.