On 5 December, almost 50 stakeholders from the phytopharmaceutical sector in the Danube region gathered in Stuttgart for Phytopharma Day. The event provided insights into the work of collectors and growers of medicinal plants in Germany, Poland and Romania, and featured presentations by Baden-Württemberg companies. The participants also had the opportunity to discuss the extent to which science and industry could increase their networking activities in this sector in the Danube region.
The event was jointly organised by BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH and Interreg DTP DanuBioValNet with the support of the Rottenburg University of Applied Forest Sciences, and aimed to bring together stakeholders in the phytopharmaceutical sector in the Danube region. Participants gained a broad overview of the industry in an information event that covered topics ranging from cultivating medicinal plants to developing new phytopharmaceuticals. Participants also had the opportunity to discuss their thoughts on how the phytopharmaceutical sector is likely to develop in the Danube region. Producing medicines from medicinal plants has a long tradition in Baden-Württemberg. Many of these companies have been operating in the region for decades and they are the reason that much of the European added value in the phytopharmaceutical sector is generated in Germany’s southwest.
Dr. Sabrina Weisenburger from a company called Dr. Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co. KG explained in her presentation that the development of new drugs can take a long time, sometimes up to ten years. Ralf Kunert, managing director of naturamus GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of WALA Heilmittel GmbH, explained in his presentation why the company is so keen to ensure fair conditions for the growers of their medicinal plants. Dr. Florin Pacurar from Romania spoke about a long-standing joint project between Weleda AG and other partners on the controlled collection of wild arnica in Romania. One common factor that emerged from the presentations was that phytopharmaceutical value creation is characterised by long-term cooperation. Another shared issue involves all parties actively working to improve social conditions in the countries where the raw materials come from.
Based on the knowledge gained in the morning sessions, the participants had ample time in the afternoon to engage in intensive discussions on how science and industry in the Danube region can improve their networking opportunities in the future. "The Phytopharma Day is the starting point for more intensive cooperation between all countries in the Danube region with the aim of establishing a holistic approach to the phytopharmaceutical and natural cosmetics sectors as part of a bioeconomy," said Prof. Dr. Kindervater in his concluding talk.