The generic market has become increasingly competitive in recent years and will gradually increase its market share.
Reforms instigated in 2004, which entailed greater use of substitution, have placed a lot of pressure on older branded drugs, and prescribers and patients have been given financial incentives to switch to generics. However, reforms have not been especially ‘pro-generic’, so whilst generics will continue to be increasingly widely prescribed, their value share of the overall market will alter less rapidly. In 2007, generic drugs accounted for 36.5% of the prescription market by value; around 81% of this was covered under the GKV. In volume terms, the generic market has continued to grow each year. This was particularly impressive in 2007, when it reached 65.4% of the total market, compared with 60.0% in 2006.
Overall, Germany is the largest pharmaceutical market in Western Europe, twice the size of Italy. Growth in recent years has tended to be uneven, as government reforms take effect on pricing and/or reimbursement. While overall expenditure is still growing, GKV expenditure, which accounts for around 80% of the market, is characterised by price reductions. These are due to tighter reimbursement rules, greater use of generics and downward pressure on generic prices due to the rebate system.
Further reading - An in-depth analysis of the German pharmaceutical market is available from Espicom: The Pharmaceutical Market: Germany (published January 2010)