25 years of Fresenius Medical Care

Fresenius has always been leading in the development of technologies and treatment methods that help people with chronic kidney failure. 25 years ago, the continued success led to the foundation of the Fresenius Medical Care corporate group. It was a great moment for us and we are proud to be part of a long history of dialysis. Join us in taking a look back.

People often think that chronic kidney failure is a fairly modern medical challenge – but it is as old as humanity itself. And even long time patients are sometimes surprised to hear that the ancient Romans already tried to find cures and remedies. 

Before anyone can find a way to treat anything it needs to be determined what the actual problem is. And even with the limited medical abilities people had two thousand years ago, they already had an idea about the issue they were dealing with. 

They tried many things, some of them rather drastic. Hot baths, sweating therapies, enemas, even bloodletting – by the Middle Ages it was already a widely accepted fact that it had something to do with the body’s liquid resources. But it was a very long path towards first effective methods of treatment. 


The solution  

It took centuries of research and many generations of inventors and physicians to come up with a way to treat chronic kidney failure. The answer was found in the principle of osmosis – the exchange of liquids through semipermeable membranes. 

Soon after World War II, first systems for dialysis treatment were developed, and Fresenius started to contribute to the development. At that time, Fresenius already had a long history. It was founded in 1912 by Dr. Eduard Fresenius who had been the proprietor of the Hirsch Pharmacy in Frankfurt, Germany. 

After his unexpected death in 1946 his foster daughter Else Kröner took over. She even studied to be a licensed pharmacist to be able to lead the company. She proved to be a very successfully businesswoman. It was her decision to start manufacturing products that are needed for dialysis. 

In 1966, first products were sold, and within less than two decades, Fresenius rose to become one of the innovation leaders in this field. 

Chronic hemodialysis treatment was already possible, but still a very expensive treatment that needed twelve hours. Still - there was hope for patients that needed long-term treatment, and more and more it turned into the mission of Fresenius to drive the improvement of the treatment forward. 


Dedicated to dialysis 

It is one thing to create a method and technology to help people with kidney failure – it’s a completely different challenge to make it available for patients worldwide. Fresenius gradually expanded the range of products and produced the first synthetic polysulfone dialyzer in 1983 – a device that still sets the standard for dialyzers today. 

Our products helped make dialysis more efficient, less time consuming, easier to apply, and most of all less expensive. The strategy was so successful that Fresenius Medical Care was founded and turned into a corporation in 1996 – with NephroCare as an important part of this new company. 

It was a logical step. Until that time, the technical side of dialysis had its home in the Fresenius Dialysis Unit while National Medical Care was in charge of treatment. The two companies joined forces, were called Fresenius Medical Care and even received a listing at the stock exchange in Frankfurt and New York. It turned into a truly global corporation. 


Continued success 

The strategy of combining the two parts of the business – the product development side as well as the care provider side – proved highly successful lots of achievements were made in years that followed. 

Fresenius Medical Care kept developing new and better dialysis products. In 2012, the company celebrated manufacturing the 500.000th dialysis machine. Today, every second dialyzer worldwide has been built by our company. A special honor was awarded in 2005 when our Dialysis Therapy System 5008 won the Innovation Award of German Economy. 

And we keep expanding the network continuously to be there for you – in your home town as much as in all the places you visit. In 2006 the USA based Renal Care Group joined us, making it possible to reach more patients than ever before. And in a recent development, Fresenius Medical Care acquired NxStage Medical – an American company that focuses on home dialysis devices. 

25 years of Fresenius Medical Care – that’s what we are celebrating this year. Nephro- Care is an important contributor to this great success. In fact, our first dialysis center had already been opened two years before the company was created – and many more were to follow. 


NephroCare for you 

Today, Fresenius Medical Care is present in more than 50 countries with more than 3.900 centers. NephroCare has clinics all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Our mission is to provide the best possible dialysis treatment. 

In more than 30 countries, way over 20.000 employees welcome you in our more than 800 centres. Can you imagine 10 Million dialysis treatments every year? Even for us that’s an incredible number. 


Thank you 

Our 25th anniversary is a perfect moment to say thank you to our patients. Without all of the feedback we get, without our conversations we have with patients worldwide it would be impossible to achieve all of this.