Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, BMG)
The Federal Ministry of Health ("Bundesministerium für Gesundheit", BMG) which has offices in Bonn and Berlin is responsible for a variety of policy areas, whereby its activities focus predominantly on the drafting of bills, ordinances and administrative regulations. Its central tasks include maintaining, ensuring and further developing the effectiveness of the statutory health insurance and long-term care insurance systems. Furthermore, the reform of the healthcare system is one of the most important missions of the Ministry; its aim is to improve the quality of the healthcare system, to strengthen the interests of patients, to assure its efficiency and to stabilise the contribution levels.
Further focal points of the Ministry in the health sector are health protection, disease control and biomedicine. The Protection against Infection Act places special emphasis on prevention, counselling and personal responsibility in connection with the prevention of infections and promotes public health. The Transplantation Act, the Embryo Protection Act and the Stem Cell Act regulate the legal framework for these important medical fields.
The German Federal Ministry of Health also elaborates the general provisions for the manufacture, clinical trial, marketing authorisation, distribution and monitoring of medicinal products and medical devices in order to meet the high requirements regarding quality, efficacy and safety. One major ongoing task of the ministry and the authorities within its remit is the safety of biological medicinal products like blood products. Furthermore, the Ministry also supports research and enables new healthcare structures, e.g. with regard to mental health, help for the chronically ill, children's health and counselling and care of persons infected with HIV and suffering from AIDS. In order to continuously improve the level of information on public healthcare issues, the necessary data is collected in the course of public health reporting.
Every citizen shall have the opportunity to acquire a broad knowledge on health issues. Responsible and educated insurees and informed patients are just as much part of the public healthcare system as laws and ordinances. Comprehensive knowledge also helps to prevent health risks within the context of disease control; this includes a wide range of information regarding the risks posed by drugs and addiction.
The Ministry's duties also encompass the occupational legislation pertaining to the license to practice the federally regulated health professions including the corresponding training schemes in order to assure the quality of the corresponding service rendered and thus also of the healthcare provided.
Alongside national healthcare policy, the tasks incumbent on the Federal Ministry of Health also include European and international health policy. Globalisation, modern tourism, the opening towards our Eastern European neighbours have created a situation in which we must join forces with our foreign partners to combat, at the point of emergence, new risks and dangers which we had prematurely consigned to the past.
Also assigned to the Ministry are the Federal Government's Commissioner on Narcotic Drugs and the Federal Government's Commissioner for Patients' Affairs.
The following authorities belong to the remit of the Federal Ministry of Health:
- the Robert Koch Institute,
- the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut,
- the Federal Centre for Health Education,
- the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices and
- the German Institute for Medical Documentation and Information.