Health: The network of pharmacies continues to thin out

Health: The network of pharmacies continues to thin out

Having a pharmacy nearby is important to many patients. But the industry remains under pressure. What does that mean for the number of locations?

The network of pharmacies in Germany continues to thin out. At the end of March, there were still 17,429 pharmacies nationwide, according to data from the Federal Association of German Pharmacists Associations on Tuesday. Since the end of last year there have been a further 142 fewer locations – and the decline in this quarter was greater than in the first quarter of 2023, with a loss of 129 pharmacies. Main pharmacies and branches are recorded, of which up to three can be operated. Due to the tense financial situation of many pharmacies, the industry once again demanded fee increases that had not been granted for a long time.

The chairman of the German Pharmacists’ Association, Hans-Peter Hubmann, spoke of an “alarming sign” with regard to the pharmacy numbers. If you extrapolate the first quarter to the full year, it is very likely that more than 500 pharmacies will be lost in 2024. Fewer pharmacies meant poorer care not only in rural areas, but also in residential areas of large cities. “We urgently need to stop this downward trend,” Hubmann told the German Press Agency.

High personnel and material costs

Industry sales increased last year to 66.4 billion euros excluding VAT after 64.2 billion euros in the previous year, according to a current economic report. Almost 84 percent came from the sale of prescription drugs. An average pharmacy had a turnover of 3.4 million euros. The operating result before taxes and pension provision fell on average to 148,000 euros, after it was 160,000 euros in 2022. The background was high personnel and material costs, the explanation was given.

Hubmann demanded that pharmacies now need noticeable economic improvements: “It is high time for an emergency aid package.” What is also needed is more freedom of action in some areas and less bureaucracy. The economic situation currently does not allow investments in larger rooms with separate areas for telemedicine or vaccinations.

According to the information, the number of jobs in pharmacies fell by 2,400 to 159,000 compared to 2022. The proportion of women among all employees was 88 percent.

Source: Stern

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts