The German Health Economics Association (dggö) awards the Gérard Gäfgen Medal to people who have significantly contributed to development of health economics in Germany.
The selection of the award winner is the responsibility of the Executive Board.
Gérard Gäfgen was born in Luxembourg in 1925 and died in Konstanz in 2005. From 1950 to 1955 he studied economics and sociology in Cologne and received his doctorate in 1955 on the "Problematic of Investment Rate in the West German Economy”. In 1961 he habilitated at the University of Cologne on the topic of “Elementary Theory of Economic Decision". In 1962, Gérard Gäfgen represented the Chair from Karl Schiller at the University of Hamburg, who had been appointed as senator for economics in Berlin. In the same year he was promoted to full professor at the Technical University of Karlsruhe. In 1965 he became Director of the Socio-Economic Seminar at the University of Hamburg. In 1969 he was appointed to the newly founded University of Konstanz, to which he remained loyal until his retirement. He rejected honorable calls to Vienna and Zurich. In 1970 he was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Minister of Economics. 1994 awarded him the University of St. Gallen an honorary doctorate in recognition of his services .
Gérard Gäfgen was one of the founders of health economics in Germany. On his initiative, the Committee for Health Economics was founded in the German Economic Association. He was a theorist and worked with the most modern methods at the subject at his time, with algebraic models and with graphics. He was thus a role model and pioneer for younger colleagues. In doing so, he dealt with all the important and fundamental problems of health economics. This is testified by the titles of his works, such as "Die optimale Gesundheitsquote. Ein Problem der Verwendungsstruktur des Sozialprodukts" (1984), "Gesundheit, Gerechtigkeit und Gleichheit: Distributive Aspekte der Gesundheitsversorgung" (1989) or "Das Dilemma zwischen humanem Anspruch und ökonomischer Knappheit im Gesundheitswesen" (1998).
Gérard Gäfgen has always consistently represented the economic way of thinking, was in this respect a liberal economist and an ethicist of order. He established health economics in the midst of the of the economic sciences rather than on its margins. He had a high reputation that extended far beyond the boundaries of our discipline.
2022Prof. Dr. Dr. Marlies Ahlert, Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg
Marlies Ahlert, professor emeritus of economics, esp. microeconomics and public finance at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, received her academic training at the universities of Bielefeld, Cologne and Osnabrück. She holds doctoral degrees in mathematics and economics. Her health economics research has focused on the allocation of scarce donor organs and medical resources and the use of preference surveys as a basis for allocation decisions.
The laureate's research is remarkable for many reasons. She has tackled difficult and controversial issues with analytical clarity. Her research results present a differentiated picture of distributional problems and distributional preferences. Marlies Ahlert is a pioneer in the application of experimental methods in health economics.
She has rendered outstanding services to the development of health economics in Germany, and not only through her scientific activities. She chaired the Committee "Verteilung" - now " Allokation und Verteilung " – from 2009 to 2013, and as Director at the Interdisciplinary Centre “Medicine – Ethics – Law” at MLU Halle-Wittenberg, she has promoted collaboration with other disciplines. She continues to be active as Vice Chair of the Standing Commission on Organ Transplantation of the German Medical Association.
2021Prof. em. Dr. Friedrich Breyer, University of Konstanz
Friedrich Breyer, born in Berlin in 1950, studied economics at the Free University of Berlin, the University of Heidelberg and the London School of Economics. This was followed by a doctorate (1978) and habilitation (1983), each at the University of Heidelberg. From 1986 to 1992 Friedrich Breyer held a professorship for economic and social policy at the Fern-Universität Hagen. Since 1992 he has been professor of economics with a focus on economic and social policy at the University of Konstanz, and retired in 2020.
Friedrich Breyer is not only one of the founders of German health economics, he is also one of the most respected scientists in our field internationally. Friedrich Breyer has conducted research on a wide range of topics: hospital economics, health insurance, demographic change and health care expenditure, theoretical foundations of economic evaluation, and sustainability of pension insurance systems. He uses a comprehensive repertoire of methods and approaches, he works theoretically and empirically; normativly, positivly and politic-economically.
Breyer is the author of six successful textbooks: Gesundheitsökonomik, Ökonomie des Sozialstaats, Mikroökonomik, Grundlagen der Wirtschaftspolitik, Grundlagen der Politischen Ökonomie, Ökonomische Theorie der Alterssicherung. As an academic teacher and dedicated supporter of young scientists, he has accompanied many successful students and encouraged young scientists.
As one of its three initiators, founding member and later its chairman, Friedrich Breyer made a special contribution to the dggö.
2019Prof. Dr. Stefan Felder, University of Basel
Stefan Felder is one of the most internationally renowned health economists from German-speaking countries. The Swiss was appointed to a professorship in health economics at the University of Magdeburg in 1997. In 2008 he moved to the University of Duisburg-Essen. He has been a professor of health economics at the University of Basel since 2011.
His scientific work is characterized by a diverse methodology and thematic breadth. He works theoretically as well as empirically and experimentally. His work includes articles on the design of health insurance, the remuneration of service providers, risk structure compensation and medical decision making. His work has appeared in internationally renowned health economics journals. Of particular note are his contributions to the impact of aging on healthcare spending.
Stefan Felder has made an extraordinary contribution to health economics in Germany, Switzerland and Europe. He was Secretary General of the dggö for many years and its chairman in 2017. He is President of the Swiss Society of Health Economics and Secretary General of the European Health Economics Association. His commitment has shaped the development of health economics. He brings health economic insights into politics and works in the best Swiss tradition as a bridge builder.
2018Prof. Dr. Matthias Graf von der Schulenburg, Leibniz University Hannover
Health economics in Germany owes a lot to Matthias von der Schulenburg. He made a decisive contribution to the founding of the dggö in 2008 and shaped it as the first chairman. Von der Schulenburg has been the editor of the European Journal of Health Economics since 2000. Under his leadership, this journal has grown significantly in scope and quality. With his membership and involvement in countless scientific, public and private committees, Matthias von der Schulenburg has played an important role in the fact that health economics has become established in Germany in science, in politics and in practice.
2017Hans-Jürgen Firnkorn, Stadt am Weil
Hans-Jürgen Firnkorn, born in 1937, was an early promoter of health economics in Germany. In the early 1970s he was scientific coordinator of the Collaborative Research Center for Hospital Construction at the Technical University of Berlin. In 1977 he went to Stuttgart as a consultant for the Robert Bosch Foundation, where he initiated colloquia and a series of books entitled “Contributions to Health Economics”. Professors and young scientists from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the USA met twice a year on his initiative. A total of 20 colloquia were held up to 1988.
Hans-Jürgen Firnkorn has contributed a lot to the development of health economics in German-speaking countries. The Robert Bosch Foundation has initiated the founding of the Committee for Health Economics in the German Economic Association in 1988 and later resulted in the founding of the German Health Economics Association.
2016Prof. Uwe E. Reinhardt, Ph.D., Princeton University
Uwe Reinhardt, born in Osnabrück in 1937 and emigrated to Canada at an early age, obtained a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan in 1964. He was then drawn to Princeton, where in 1970 he worked on on "Physician productivity and the demand for health manpower: an economic analysis" and served as taught as James Madison Professor of Political Economy until the end.
In 1978 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine, served in the Special Medical Advisory Group of the Veterans Administration and in the Physician Payment Review Commission. At the same time, he was committed to health economics in Germany, which was still in its infancy at the time, particularly in the health economics colloquium of the Robert Bosch Foundation.
However, 2001 was also important for his contribution to the German health economics: Ulla Schmidt became Minister of Health and Uwe Reinhardt was a important consultant because he was able to translate social and economic issues into politically understandable language. At the same time, he was not one of those who immediately saw the potential end of our healthcare systems in every development – costs, new technologies, demographic change, etc. In 2009 he received the Federal Cross of Merit. Uwe Reinhardt was not only active in and for Germany, but was also an ambassador for the German healthcare system.
He died on November 14, 2017.
2015Prof. Dr. emer. Eberhard Wille, University of Mannheim
Eberhard Wille, born in 1942, is an economist and received his doctorate and habilitation from the University of Mainz. From 1975 to 2010 he held a chair in economics, in particular public finance, at the University of Mannheim.
Mr. Wille was primarily concerned with the government of our healthcare system. This included central issues of financing the risk of illness as well as the effectiveness and efficiency of care. He always had the controlling power of competition in mind, and in this perspective corresponded with the name giver of the medal.
Mr. Wille was a founding member of the Committee for Health Economics in the German Economic Association, which Mr. Gäfgen established. Even more important is his work in the Advisory Council for the Assessment of Developments in the Health Care System: Mr. Wille has been working there since 1993, has chaired it for ten years and has been deputy chair for about another 10 years in addition to medicine. As an adviser on health economics, he has pushed ahead with substantial solutions and accompanied all major innovations for more than two decades. With his unique, lasting work, he has helped health economics to gain relevance in politics and practice in an outstanding way.
2014Prof. Dr. emer. Klaus-Dirk Henke, TU Berlin
Klaus-Dirk Henke received his doctorate in economics from the University of Cologne in 1970. In 1976 he habilitated at the University of Marburg. In the same year, Klaus-Dirk Henke was appointed to the chair of finance at the Leibniz University in Hanover. In 1995 he accepted the appointment to the chair for health economics and public finance at the Technical University of Berlin, which he held until his retirement in 2011.
He has worked on a wide range of health economic issues. The main focus was on the external and internal financing of the health care system and the health economic evaluation of preventive or therapeutic measures. In more recent years, Henke explored the potential of the cooperative idea for the health care system and worked on health expenditure accounting.
Professor Henke has served on numerous committees. For example, since 1984 he has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Ministry of Finance. From 1987 to 1998, Henke was a member of the Advisory Council for the Concerted Action in Health Care, half of which he served as its chairman.
2013Prof. Dr. emer. Dieter Cassel, University of Duisburg-Essen
Dieter Cassel, born in 1939, held the chair for economic policy at the University of Duisburg-Essen until 2007. Like the medal's name giver, Dieter Cassel is one of the founders of health economics in Germany. He played a key role in shaping the Robert Bosch Colloquium in the 1980s and in 1986 co-founded the committee for health economics in the German Economic Association, which he headed from 2002 to 2005. In his laudatory speech, the dggö chairman emphasized that Dieter Cassel, with his report published in 2011 "Zur Wirkung des Risikostrukturausgleichs in der gesetzlichen Krankenversicherung. Eine Untersuchung im Auftrag des Bundesministeriums für Gesundheit" (together with his co-authors), not only pointed out the deficits of the existing RSA, but actually improved it noticeably with the proposal of a morbidity-oriented RSA, because such a morbidity-oriented risk structure compensation was introduced in the GKV in 2009 and has since made the health insurance competition much more efficient.
2012Prof. Dr. emer. Peter Zweifel, University of Zurich
Peter Zweifel, born in 1946, was a professor at the University of Zurich between 1983 and 2011, teaching and researching in the fields of foreign trade, energy economics, insurance economics and health economics. He is known as the author of numerous articles, co-author of a textbook on health economics, founding editor of the International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, and proponent of the Red Herring hypothesis according to which population aging has no impact on health care spending. He was one of the first scientists worldwide to consistently apply microeconomic models to the behavior of physicians, insured persons and patients. Through his work as an expert and lecturer, Peter Zweifel has also contributed a lot to establishing the subject of health economics at German universities.
2011Prof. Dr. emer. Peter Oberender, University of Bayreuth
Peter Oberender, 1941-2015, held the Chair of Economics IV at the University of Bayreuth until 2007. Here he was one of the founders of the Research Center for Social Law and Health Economics. At the end of the 1990s he initiated the first German university course "Health Economics" at the University of Bayreuth. Like the medal's name giver, Peter Oberender is one of the founding fathers of health economics in Germany. From 1987 to 1990 he was a member of the Enquête Commission on the Structural Reform of Statutory Health Insurance of the German Bundestag. This commission prepared the Structural Reform Act of 1992, which heralded the start of competition in Germany's statutory health insurance system with the freedom to choose health insurance funds. From 1992 to 1995 he was chairman of the Committee for Health Economics in the German Economics Association. Last but not least, Peter Oberender was also promoted the development of health economics in Germany with his practical work, especially with colleagues in medicine.