The heads of the Social Democratic Party, the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party presented the coalition agreement of the newly elected German federal government on Wednesday, 24 November 2021. One focus lies on the healthcare and life sciences sector. From driving forward the digitalization of the healthcare market, ensuring the sufficient supply of medicinal products and vaccines, and more restrictions on the prices of medicinal products, to strengthening pharmacies in underserved areas and legalizing recreational cannabis, the new government has set itself a substantive health agenda for the next four years. Companies that are active in the field of healthcare and life sciences should closely observe the further developments, and be prepared to quickly adapt to new regulatory frameworks and to seize new opportunities.
Digitalization and health data use
- To forward the digitalization of the healthcare sector, telemedicine services like video consultations, telemonitoring, online emergency services and electronic prescriptions will be established on a more regular basis.
- The electronic patient record, for which the legislative foundations have already been laid and which is approaching implementation, will be accelerated.
- A better scientific use of health data in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the development of a decentralized research data infrastructure will be ensured by the Register Act (Registergesetz) and the Health Data Use Act (Gesundheitsdatennutzungsgesetz).
Supply of medicinal products and vaccines
- A sufficient supply of medicinal products and vaccines will be ensured and supply shortages will be avoided.
- To achieve this goal, measures will be taken to relocate the production of medicinal products and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) back to Germany or the EU. These include the reduction of bureaucracy, the consideration of investment subsidies for production facilities and the consideration of subsidies to ensure the security of supply.
- To avoid conflicts of interest, more transparency on financial contributions to healthcare professionals and medical aid providers will be ensured.
- To ensure the sufficient funding of the German healthcare system, the price moratorium (no reimbursements by statutory health insurances in case of one-sided price increases by pharmaceutical entrepreneurs, except for adjustments for inflation) will be maintained.
- The ability of health insurances to limit the prices of medicinal products will be strengthened. The negotiated reimbursement price applies from the seventh month after market entry.
- To promote outpatient care, new remuneration schemes will be implemented by means of hybrid Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs).
Controlled supply of cannabis
- The controlled supply of recreational cannabis to adults in licensed shops will be legalized. Until now, cannabis was only allowed to be used for medical purposes in Germany.
- Pregnancy conflict counseling will be possible online.
- Doctors shall be able to provide public information on abortions. Section 219a of the Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch) shall be repealed.
- Health insurance funds shall be enabled to reimburse contraceptives.
- Research funding for contraceptives shall be increased.
- Pharmacies in rural areas shall be promoted and liberalized.
- The remuneration of pharmacies shall be optimized by means of broader-based funds.
- Incentives shall be created for pharmacies to include medical services in their portfolio through special remuneration models.
For further information and to discuss future developments, feel free to contact us at any time.