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Die Gesundheitsbranche erwartet steigende Nachfrage, aber sinkende Erträge – wirtschaftliche Lage „noch gut“

Press release from 04 May 2010

RWI and Springer Medizin present new “Healthcare Sector Index”

Berlin/Essen/Neu-Isenburg - May 4, 2010 – The key players in the healthcare industry are expecting a substantial increase in the demand for the goods and services provided in the healthcare sector. Yet at the same time they are expecting revenues to decrease. Those are the main results of the Healthcare Sector Index (Index für die Gesundheitswirtschaft), compiled for the first time ever and presented today in Berlin. Based on statistics for all key players of the healthcare industry, including current and expected revenues as well as trends in demand, prices and fees, the new index is jointly compiled and published by the Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI) in Essen and the Springer Medizin publishing house. For the new index, a total of 635 companies active in the healthcare sector as well as physicians, dentists and pharmacists were surveyed by RWI during the second half of April 2010.

Revenues: losses to increase considerably

The analysis of the survey taken in April 2010 for the first index reveals that just under half of those surveyed currently expect revenues to exceed expenses. Yet less than 40 percent of the key players are expecting net revenues in the near future. The detailed results are as follows:

  • A full 47% of the key players in the healthcare sector are experiencing a revenue surplus, either small (38.6%) or large (8.5%).
  • 30.1% in contrast report a slight (18.1%) or major (12.0%) loss.
  • Expectations for the future are considerably more negative, however, only 38.8% expect a surplus of revenues (32.8% a small surplus, 6.0% a large surplus).
  • 34.3%, in contrast, expect a small (24.4%) or major (9.9%) loss.
  • 22.5% of those surveyed currently report a balanced result, while 26.5% expect such a result in the future.

Major differences are also seen within the industry when forecasting the revenue situation. While 46.4% of self-employed physicians, dentists and pharmacists currently cite revenues as being good or very good, this figure is significantly higher (61.7%) for companies active in the healthcare sector. The difference is even more pronounced when forecasting revenue developments. In this case only 37.8% of self-employed individuals predict a small or large revenue surplus, while this figure is 55.9% for companies in the industry, i.e. lower than the current figure but nonetheless considerably higher than for the self-employed. The fact that both subgroups have significantly lower revenue expectations probably reflects the current discussion of cost-containment measures, which have already become a reality in the area of medication supply.

Demand increases significantly

In comparison to current and expected revenues, the new index reveals a contrasting scenario for demand trends within the healthcare industry. A total of 51.2% of the surveyed key players in the healthcare sector currently report an increase in demand. At 54.6%, an even greater number of those surveyed expect demand to increase in the future, with 15.4% of these predicting a strong increase. In contrast, only 11.7% of those surveyed expect demand to drop. About one third of respondents expect demand for the goods and services provided in the healthcare sector to remain constant in the future.

Trends in prices and fees are, in part, contradictory. The majority of those surveyed indicate that prices and fees are currently increasingly, with 43.1% citing a slight rise in prices and fees and 10.2% indicating a strong increase. No fundamental differences are seen in future estimates of this trend: 44.9% predict a slight increase but only 8.2% a sharp increase. Yet, there are also some on the losing side: 21.1% report that prices are currently falling, and at 24.0% the number expecting such a trend in the future is slightly higher.

For further information, please contact:
Dr. Boris Augurzky, RWI, Research Division hief Health Economics, E-Mail
Wolfgang van den Bergh, Director News and Politics, Springer Medizin, E-Mmail
Dr. Uwe K. Preusker, Chief Editor „Index für die Gesundheitswirtschaft“,