Outdoor Conference

Burda Health Lab in Munich’s Allianz Arena

This year’s Health Lab by Burda took place on Thursday with a focus on overcoming upheaval and shaping the future. And the location was very special indeed – Munich’s Allianz Arena allowed the event to be held outdoors while also providing shelter. Normally filled with spectators cheering for FC Bayern, the main stand allowed around 200 guests to enjoy a packed programme while maintaining an appropriate distance. The Health Lab has become a key event and source of pioneering inspiration within the pharma industry. This year, it was supported for the first time by the "Pharmacy Pact for the Future", an alliance between Burda and Noweda that aims to bolster local pharmacies in Germany.  

Collaboration as opportunity in the new normal

The event focused on the topic that is currently affecting Germany the most – change. The coronavirus pandemic has stimulated change in the health industry as well, particularly the digitalisation of healthcare. The sector is also one of the most important drivers of innovation in Germany’s economy. This year’s Health Lab was therefore also part of Burda’s #TheFutureStartsNow initiative, asking how we can proactively pave the way to the new normal.

“I am absolutely convinced that we can emerge from this crisis stronger than before if we view it not as a threat, but as an opportunity to take a new approach.”

Burda board member Philipp Welte in his welcome address

Philipp Welte explained that the century-long task of getting Germany’s economy and society moving forward again is primarily about innovative thinking and collaborative action. The coronavirus has proved to be a powerful catalyst for digital transformation, and this has been particularly evident in the healthcare market. Welte spoke about the essential role of print media in a digital world. He emphasised the “systemic importance” of publishing media (illustrated by the coronavirus pandemic) and the trust in journalism on which it is founded. The pandemic has been accompanied by a great “infodemic” – countless half-truths and hoaxes that have been spread via social networks. It is the responsibility of publishing journalism to create a stronghold against the lies and the liars. And Welte is certain that “this task has never been as important as it is today”.

Pact for the Future with social responsibility

“In a time of great upheaval, we are standing shoulder to shoulder with local pharmacies.”

Michael P. Kuck, CEO of Noweda

The Pharmacy Pact for the Future is also about social responsibility. “We are talking about a social infrastructure that allows every person in Germany to access every approved medication immediately after visiting their doctor or within just a short space of time – including a personal consultation with a pharmaceutical specialist where necessary.” In just two years, the Pact for the Future has managed to establish a comprehensive support system for local pharmacies through significant partnerships and long-lasting collaborations (such as the recent arrangement with Bionorica). Over 7,000 pharmacies are now getting involved. And with 2.3 million copies sold, the My life brand is helping consumers to access pharmacies. “When it comes to omnichannels, it doesn’t get better than this.”

Markus Söder: “fan of pharmacies”

In a video interview with Bunte editor-in-chief Robert Pölzer, Bavarian Minister President Markus Söder confirmed that political support is also required. Söder described himself as a “fan of pharmacies”.

“When you visit a pharmacy, you come out smarter than you went in thanks to the extra information you receive.”

Markus Söder, Bavarian Minister President

Pharmacist advice is indispensable, particularly for medications only available on prescription. Söder made the point that even if a coronavirus vaccine were to be approved in Germany in the foreseeable future, vaccines are a tricky thing to advertise overall. Given that not all citizens are willing or able to be vaccinated, “I imagine we’ll be stuck with physical distancing and face masks for longer than we think”.

Post-coronavirus? Pioneers look to the future

The Health Lab 2020 provided a comprehensive view not just of current changes to the market, but also a range of theories on a future with or even after the coronavirus. Tobias Brodtkorb, Managing Partner at Sempora Consulting, explained how this future is starting to take shape. Professor Peter Wippermann, founder of the Trendbüro trend and innovation consultancy, was also in attendance, presenting “self-care” as the greatest health trend. In the discussion session, BCN managing director Michael Samak joined Stefan Walk (Head of Hermes Arzneimittel), Eelco Ockers (Executive Vice President Germany at Stada) and Ute Wynands (Chief Commercial Officer at Dr. Kade Health Care) to ask how brand management works in times of crisis. They all agreed that reliability and credibility are essential to survive and thrive on the market. So media companies and their platforms are off to a good start.

PTA of the Year

Health is a precious and very personal asset, and the value of customised advice from doctors and pharmacists isn’t just a topic of discussion – it is also tested on the ground and recognised accordingly. This year, Pharma Privat – a Pact for the Future partner – crowned the “PTA of the Year” live in the Allianz Arena. This year’s best pharmaceutical/technical assistant is Svenja Paternoga from the Medicon pharmacy in Nuremberg.

A resounding success

With interactive voting elements, a discovery course and plenty of opportunities to finally chat in person (at a distance, of course), the Health Lab 2020 proved to be an extremely successful industry event. BurdaLife managing director Kay Labinsky summed up the day: “Burda is the number one in German health journalism, and we want to play our part in making Germany healthier. The Health Lab is the perfect platform for this dialogue. We spent a long time figuring out how to hold a live event and are delighted that our concept has set a good example. Demand for tickets outstripped the maximum permitted number of 200 guests, and we had very few last-minute cancellations. This has confirmed the importance of the Health Lab as an industry meeting point and source of inspiration, particularly in the current circumstances.”

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