The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte, BfArM) is an independent federal higher authority within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Health.
At the BfArM, roughly 1,000 employees (physicians, pharmacists, chemists, biologists, lawyers, engineers, technical assistants, administrative staff etc.) are involved in the tasks of licensing, improving the safety of medicinal products, detecting and evaluating the risks of medical devices, and monitoring the legal traffic in narcotic drugs and precursors. The most important aim of these activities is to increase the safety of medicinal products and thus that of the patients. Consequently, the BfArM makes a major contribution towards the prevention of risks to public health.
The BfArM is located in Bonn. In the course of moving the government's seat from Bonn to Berlin, the Berlin/Bonn Act specified that the authority was to move from Berlin to Bonn as a compensation measure for the Federal City Bonn. Revenue and expenditure of the BfArM are described in Chapter 1510 of the Federal Budget; the sound budgetary management is monitored by the Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, BMG) and the Federal Audit Office (Bundesrechnungshof). The revenue mainly results from fees charged for official acts. Additional revenues are from mandates assigned by the European Medicines Agency EMA and other healthcare institutions. The BfArM does not engage in any promotion and has no income based on advertising.
The BfArM is a departmental research institute of the German Federal Government which conducts its own as well as independent research in order to fulfil its tasks pursuant to Section 4 sub-section 3 BGA successor legislation. The BfArM’s tasks serve both public health as well as the safety of medicinal products, narcotics and medical devices. As a federal institute, the BfArM fulfils sovereign tasks without economic purpose (i.e. without the intention of making a profit).