Being a cross-sectional industry, the health care sector includes all business areas concerned with the issue of health. Besides the core business of classical health services (stationary and ambulatory care and nursing), numerous other sectors are assigned to the health industry, such as medical technology, the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology as well as health trade or health-relevant fields like pharmacies, health tourism including wellness, spa baths, health resorts or sports and food.
The health care industry is one of the most employment intensive economic sectors in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Altogether, Baden-Wuerttemberg's health care industry accounts for more than 600,000 employees.
The pharmaceutical industry, medical technology and biotechnology, employing about 85,000 people, are considered the innovative core business sectors and technological drivers of the health care industry. The federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg represents the largest business location for pharmaceutical and medical technology in Germany and ranks third with respect to the size of the biotechnology sector. At European level, Baden-Wuerttemberg's manufacturers of homeopathic, herbal and anthroposophical drugs as well as the producers of drugs used for the regenerative medicine hold a leading position.
Thanks to its university clinics and other university or non-university maximum care hospitals, such as the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, Baden-Wuerttemberg does not only rank first in research and health care, but is also renowned throughout Germany for its excellent clinic landscape. The state's public research activities are complemented by a large number of companies engaged in research, notably from the pharmaceutical industry.
With 56 certified spas and health resorts, Baden-Wuerttemberg boasts the highest density of spa resorts in Germany and offers the largest number of rehabilitation and healthcare centres. Many regions have discovered the health-related tourism as lucrative business field and offer a broad range of health and wellness services.
The healthcare industry of Baden-Wuerttemberg is characterized by numerous regional networking initiatives. Thus, the concept of the metropolitan region of Rhein-Neckar has for example been awarded for winning the competition "Health Regions of the Future".
As a prospect for the future, the health care industry will most likely retain its role as major driver for innovation and growth. According to experts, the health sector has the potential of becoming a key industry. This applies for the sectors of medical technology, biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry as well as for innovations related to health care services and the new sectors, such as health tourism, e-health or telemedicine. In the light of demographic changes, the issue of health prevention will play an equally important role.