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Giessen International Summer University offers a multidisciplinary approach to economics, incentives and sustainability of innovation in medicine and health care. Lectures and seminars are taught by internationally established scholars and practitioners. Several study field trips in combination with the German language course provide further knowledge in the areas already covered in class. The courses are divided into four weeks:


  • Economics of Health Care: Linking Health Economics, Innovation and Market Access
  • Medical Innovation: Linking Global Health Challenges, Entrepreneurship and Business Practice
  • Digitalization and Medical Technology in Health Care: Linking Digital Solutions and Data Privacy
  • Law and Ethic Concerns: Linking Intellectual Property Rights, Regulation of the Health Sector, Human Rights and Ethic Concerns


First Week: Economics in Health Care


The first week of our program will introduce you to today’s global health challenges and economic principles. You will broaden your knowledge by attending courses in the fields of innovation, health economics, and market access.


One of the first steps for every business is the idea behind it. Nevertheless, not every idea is suitable for transforming it into a service or product, let alone the chance of transforming it into actual profit for a future or already existing business.


You will learn about different techniques and processes to develop ideas for new products and services. You will also gain knowledge to exploit these ideas in order to make the most out of it.


After successful research and development phases, the next step is market access and convincing insurance companies of your therapy’s cost-effectiveness in order to achieve a favorable reimbursement agreement. Therefore, you get the chance to learn about the specific features of Health Goods, Methods of Evaluation and reasons for Market Failure. The suitability of various regulatory approaches for countries with different economic and epidemiologic conditions will be discussed as well.


Second Week: Medical Innovation


You will broaden your acquired knowledge even more by attending courses in the fields of Medical Innovation. Visionary entrepreneurs will explain you how they develop revolutionary therapeutic innovations in Pharma and MedTech to address global health challenges.


You will learn about various topics and actors in the field, starting with important medical concepts like Personal Medicine and Genetic Testing and their implications for the health insurance market. Secondly, practitioners will give you an insight into problems, which they face in their daily work routine. Therefore we invited experienced physicians from both the university clinics and private practices.


You are going to learn about the development of drugs in the pharmaceutical industry, concentrating on the different stages from having an idea for a new drug all the way to clinical studies. Among others, this will include: hit optimization; lead optimization; different stages in pre-clinical research, from the idea to the development of a compound to cure specific diseases, to the synthesis of the compound; pharmacology as well as toxicology; and clinical studies including its four phases.


Third Week: Digitalization and MedTech in Health Care


The third week of our program will dive into the field of Digitalization and MedTech in Health care. Beside drug innovation, MedTech and particularly Digitalization are seen as the most important fields to cure diseases or even prevent them. Beside the opportunity to fight diseases, Digitalization permits to make procedures in health care facilities more efficient.

To give you an insight into the vast field of MedTech and Digitalization, you will learn about the new field of Xenotransplantation as an example for innovative MedTech. In addition to that, you will learn about the impact of Digitalization in health care facilities.

Despite the multiple beneficial applications of Digitalization you will discuss about the barriers, risks and concerns about Data Privacy. For a suitable use of Digitalization a vast data basis is needed. Often particularly sensible health data are collected, saved and processed. Health Care facilities and IT companies have to guarantee that the data is safe and protected from third-parties.


Fourth Week: Law and Ethic Concerns


At the beginning of this week, you will learn more about the regulation of the health sector, especially about the regulation of medical drugs. The registration of drugs, also known as product licensing, is an essential element of drug regulation. All medical drugs must be authorized before they can be put on the market and sold to patients. You will focus on European drug regulation, especially on procedures for approving drugs in Europe but also on comparisons between the U.S. and Europe.

Most of the value of new medicine products lies in the amount of invention, innovation, research, design, and testing. Companies have to invest enormous amounts of money to develop new drugs and medical devices as you will see on our business trips. Therefore, they depend on some kind of legal mechanism to recover their investments. Also companies who have spent a lot of time on planning and exploiting their ideas do not want to see these ideas used by business rivals. Therefore, during this part of the program you will discuss Intellectual Property Rights, such as patent protection which is an incentive for research and development of new medicines. This topic will be linked closely to the curriculum of the first and second part of the program.

Patents themselves and patent law play a big role in almost every company. First of all, you will learn about the basics of Intellectual Property law including historic treaties and agreements to understand how it emerged and adapted. You will explore the rights of patent owners, the duration of patents, the degree of international uniformity and the degree of effectiveness of patents in protecting and commercializing medical inventions.

Another component of the last part will relate Intellectual Property law to the issue of human rights. During the study of the linkage between those fields questions such as ‘Can it be considered human if a company does only focus on their return on investment instead of caring for seriously ill people who cannot afford expensive drugs?’ will be discussed.