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The German dental industry can assert its position in world markets

Health reform with secure financing foundation called for

Despite the difficult framework conditions in international financial and economic markets, the many uncertainties with the imminent health reform and the ever stronger competition in international health markets, the German dental industry has been able to maintain its position well.

The 200 companies which are members of the German Dental Industry Federation (VDDI) achieved total sales of  3.75 billion Euro in 2009 (incl. production abroad), a fall of 4.3 percent compared with 2008, the previous year. Exports amounted to 1.86 billion Euro (- 9.5 percent) and domestic sales to 1.62 billion Euro (+ 2.5 percent), reported Dr. Martin Rickert, chairman of the VDDI board, when he presented the 2009/2010 business report at the annual meeting of members of the federation in Cologne yesterday.

Dental market developments provide hope for the future

The 200 member companies of the VDDI employed nearly 18,425 people at home and abroad in 2009 (- 1.4 percent compared with 2008). The number of employees fell by 0.3 percent at home and by 6.2 percent abroad.

The member companies regard the progress of domestic business in 2009 as mainly positive as 53 percent of them recorded increases. 24 percent reported unchanged sales while 23 percent of companies had to accept a drop.

Despite the persisting economic crisis, the expectations of VDDI members for domestic business in 2010 are largely confident. 58 percent of the companies anticipate increasing sales, 40 percent expect that sales will remain the same, whereas only two percent are fearful of falling sales.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolfgang Franz, the chairman of the expert council for reporting on overall economic development, also expressed optimism in his presentation on the challenges and prospects in economic policy for 2010. A recovery can already be seen but it is still too early to speak of a strong and self-sustaining upswing: the economic situation has been transferred from intensive care to the rehabilitation unit and there are good prospects that the economic situation will soon be discharged from there.

However, he pointed out that economic forecasts are based on experiences from the past and the past crisis was without precedent.

Health financing and health reform in the debate

The discussions of the members' meeting focused on the imminent health reform, financing questions in statutory health insurance together with the global financial crisis.

>From the point of view of the VDDI, apart from the social and political necessity of ensuring health care of the population, most of whom are working, the conception of a comprehensive health reform also involves economic considerations. "There are important development and employment potentials for the health economy and also for the economy in general. It is necessary to create a financing basis for statutory health insurance, which not only guarantees current provision but also provides sustained stability and is flexible enough to allow growth" said Dr. Rickert when presenting the business report.

Dr. Rickert stressed the importance of preserving the choice of treatments of dentists and doctors in the interest of patients. The attractiveness of the healthcare professions can be maintained and improved only if the income potential is assured. As an example, he referred in this connection to the urgent need to update the fee schedule for dentists.

In his guest lecture, Dr. Rolf Koschorrek, member of the Bundestag (MdB) reported, against the background of the current discussions, on the problems of statutory health insurance financing that currently have to be solved. He cited proposals for savings and gave his views on the necessary structural changes in the health insurance system from the paper that he had drawn up jointly with his Bundestag colleague Jens Spahn in the previous week for the meetings of the coalition's health specialists.

VDDI presents a new logo for the federation

"The new VDDI logo reflects the variety of membership, from small and medium-sized companies to large groups. At the same time, the great variety of products and the different product features in the dental industry. The logo shows the federation as an open and open-minded circle of domestic and international companies that have joined together in a kind of quality association", explained VDDI managing director Dr. Markus Heibach.

After over 20 years, renewal of the federation logo was due, to reflect the change of the federation from a predominantly German to a cosmopolitan federation of manufacturers.

The VDDI is a member of the German Industry Federation. Press: VDDI e.V. - Pressereferat
Burkhard Sticklies
Fon: 0221-500687-14
Fax: 0221-500687-21
E-Mail: sticklies@vddi.de

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