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Parliament in Berlin, Germany, with the German flag in the wind

Featured image: Photo by Maheshkumar Painam on Unsplash

Germany: The biggest European OTC and Rx market 

Germany is the strongest OTC and Rx market in Europe and the evolution of its demographics is a source of opportunities if you are looking to expand your business to the European region. 

A strong coun­try in West­ern Europe with a rich his­tory, Ger­many is home to the old­est uni­ver­sal health­care sys­tem, dat­ing back to social legislation from the Bis­marck Repub­lic. In the last 20 years, life expectancy has increased by four years for women and five years for men, reach­ing an aver­age of 80.

Since reunification in 1990, Ger­many has expended con­sid­er­able funds to harmonize pro­duc­tiv­ity and wages across the coun­try, and pros­per­ity has increased on the basis of Ger­man exports, par­tic­u­larly machin­ery, vehi­cles, met­als, chem­i­cals and other goods nec­es­sary in Emerg­ing Mar­kets.

Accord­ing to the World Health Organ­i­za­tion (WHO), Germany’s dis­ease profile reflects its high-income sta­tus: heart dis­ease and stroke are the most com­mon causes of death, fol­lowed by can­cer, par­tic­u­larly of the lung and colon. The gen­eral can­cer mor­tal­ity rate is lower than the EU aver­age, but it is slightly higher for breast can­cer. Around 28% of the population smokes (Macrotrend.net and Gbe-bud), a relatively high rate. Just under one in four adults in Germany are obese. As a result, Germans live on average 2.6 years less due to being overweight. Being overweight accounts for 10.7% of health expenditure. At a rate of 15,3%, the rate of diabetes in the country places Germany first in Europe. 

Nevertheless, Germany places a lot of emphasis on health, which is evident in the OTC market: The revenue of OTC grew by 3,7% in 2019, reaching a worth of USD 11,4 billion. The German OTC and pharma market in 2019 amounted to USD 49 billion, at ex-factory price, experiencing a growth of 5,1% between 2014 and 2019. According to our forecast, it should be worth USD 82 Billion by 2035.

Compared to Europe, the German market is the biggest pharmaceutical market. 

Despite tough pric­ing and reim­burse­ment con­di­tions, as well as the challenging effects of patent expi­ra­tions, Ger­many remains one of the largest global phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal mar­kets, and that status will con­tinue to increase its rewards. Investors still see Ger­many as a solid propo­si­tion.

If you are planning on entering Germany, our expertise and long standing network can support you. The Chameleon Pharma Consulting Group has extensive OTC and pharma expertise in European markets, and we would be thrilled to support you to take advantage of the opportunities Germany has to offer!

The German OTC and pharma market in 2035

USD 81,2 Billion

OTC and pharma market size, ex-factory


OTC and pharma market growth

Germany in numbers

Total population


Population growth

Birth rate

Mortality rate

Life expectancy

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