“Socialism is the best prophylaxis!”

The health care system in the DDR 

In the second edition of our “Studies on the DDR” series we will be explo­ring the DDR’s compre­hen­sive, free and acces­si­ble public health system.

Tailo­red to needs, not profits and with a focus on preven­tive health­care, the DDR built hund­reds of hospi­tals along­side in-work clinics and phar­macies throughout the war-devas­ta­ted coun­try. Hund­reds of rural outpa­ti­ent clinics and thousands of commu­nity nurse stati­ons were also estab­lis­hed in areas further away from urban health faci­li­ties.
By the 1980s, the DDR had also deve­lo­ped an effi­ci­ent natio­na­li­sed phar­maceu­ti­cal indus­try that employed some 15,000 staff. Produ­cing around 1,300 diffe­rent phar­maceu­ti­cals, this indus­try cove­red roughly 80–90% of the DDR’s phar­maceu­ti­cal needs and expor­ted drugs to the Soviet Union and other socia­list countries.

Our study enti­t­led “Socia­lism is the best prophy­la­xis!” provi­des a more in-depth explo­ra­tion of the DDR’s health care system. It will be publis­hed this summer.